Sign of an alive democracy, or a sad mobocracy?

The Kaveri Krishna Horata Samanvaya Samithi has put up this quite extraordinary notice at the Bangalore railway station, with pictures of T.A. Narayana Gowda and Kodihalli Chandrashekhar of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike adorning it.

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KAVERI KRISHNA HORATA SAMANVAYA SAMITHI

An appeal

DO NOT BOARD TRAINS LEAVING TO AND FROM DELHI BETWEEN 26/04/2007 AND 08/05/2007

Passengers

The “Kaveri Krishna Horata Samiti” has arranged for a mega protest starting from 04/05/2007 in Delhi against the Kaveri tribunal verdict which has come as a death blow to Karnataka. More than one lakh people are going to take part in this protest.

The protestors are going to board rains from Bangalore to Delhi and back without tickets in huge numbers. Chances of others getting seats are very low. Therefore, please do not board trains leaving to and from Delhi between 26/04/2007 and 08/05/2007.

Please do not buy tickets for these trains in the above period. If you have already reserved tickets, please cancel them. We request you to help the Kaveri protest in this way.

Jai Karnataka

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At least this courteous, well-crafted notice in English (and Hindi), is a step up from shocking the daylights out of non-Kannada reading passengers? But is ticketless travel, which is a violation of railway rules, the right way to seek “justice” on the Cauvery issue?

Is inconveniencing ordinary citizens by making it impossible for them to travel in peace to Delhi—people who may have interviews to attend and jobs to join; sick and dying people to call upon; connecting trains to catch to go elsewhere—the right way of making a point?

If the protest is from May 5, why block trains from April 26? Should the Centre sponsor an agitation against itself by running trains during these dates and allowing the protestors to ride ticketless? Would the Railway authorities only be doing their job if it books the ticketless travellers? Or does it risk being labelled “anti-Kannada” and “anti-Cauvery”?

And will such a street protest really help Karnataka’s Cauvery cause except to generate some square centimetres of coverage for its protagonists, when the need of the hour is calm, collected and calibrated legal response?

Also read: Karnataka Rakshana Vedike: Good, bad, sad?