The Karnataka High Court on Thursday objected to the padayatra organized by the opposition Congress demanding start of work on the Mekedatu project, which will provide drinking water to Bengaluru and surrounding areas.
The court further ordered the Congress not to take up any protest in Bengaluru henceforth. The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice S.R. Krishnakumar gave this order.
The bench also asked the government to see to it that the protests and agitations are confined to the premises of the Freedom Park and do not trouble vehicle riders and common people. "It took one hour for us to reach the High Court. How are common people supposed to commute? The government should issue restrictions on this," the bench said.
The order has been issued to empower jurisdictional police inspectors to initiate legal action for violations under IPC Section 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant) and the Karnataka Police Act, 1963.
Mekedatu padayatra 2.0, demanding implementation of the project by the government, will culminate at the National College Grounds on Thursday, where the party has organized a massive convention.
The padayatra resumed from Ramnagar, where it was stopped during the peak of the Covid third wave. The Congress leaders are taking out a protest march from the Mekhri Circle to the Basavanagudi National College Grounds, a foot march of 78.9 km.
The Karnataka police have lodged FIR against Congress leaders including state president D.K. Shivakumar and leader of opposition Siddaramaiah for violating Covid guidelines on taking out procession and protest marches. However, both the leaders have dubbed the cases against them as political vendetta by the ruling BJP.
The Congress is aiming at making contact with masses in Bengaluru and surrounding districts with the Mekedatu agitation. Thousands of people have participated in the padayatra. Prominent Lingayat Seer Murugha Rajendra also extended his support to the protest march.