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The Cauvery river Water dispute and its judicial pronouncements led to the Karnataka State declaring a bandh on 13 th December, 1991. This was the beginning. For three days there were
unprecedent violent happenings, destruction of property, danger to life and liberty, and fleeing masses of people from the city of Bangalore and some other adjoinging towns. There was a lull
for some time thereafter. However, it again erupted in the border taluka areas of Mysore district which again resulted in a large-scale destruction of houses of Tamilians and also eviction of Tamilians residing there. There were also certain incidents as and by way of retaliation in the border districts of Tamil Nadu on Kannadigas. The large-scale violence and destruction of properties and breakdown of the rule of law induced various socially active groups to rise to the occasion. In particular the groups were- PUCL (Karnataka) and PUCL (HD Kote), Womens Voice, Bangalore, Centre for Informal Education and Development Studies (CIEDS), Karnataka Construction Workers’ Union, Karnataka Griha Karmikara Sangha, Vimochana, Bangalore, and KKNSS Bangalore. These groups and the general public approached the Indian People’s Human Right Tribunal for holding an enquiry into these happenings. Accordingly, the President of the Indian People’s Human Right Commission requested Mr. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, the Chairman of the People’s Human Rights Tribunal to constitute a tribunal to hold an enquiry into these incidents. Mr. Justice Krishna Iyer in turn, requested us to serve on the tribunal to conduct a full enquiry into “ the causes and of the aspects of the incidents of violence, tension, destruction, other injurious consequences and the role played by political elements, goonda elements, linguistic chauvinists and yet other anti-social operators and factors”.

The Tribunal was requested to go into matters as well as the quantum of damages suffered in terms of life, liberty and personal property. The tribunal would also make observations and constructive suggestions on the larger issues in relation to the handling of river water and like disputes, ethnic, linguistic antagonism and functional failures of authorities in such emotionally charges confrontation and their impact on the people and inter-state relations. The tribunal would hold sittings at various places and look into their aspects bearing upon the unfortunate happenings. We were free to frame our own procedure consistant with natural justice and fairness. We were to make report within 3 months from the date the tribunal was constituted i.e. 31.1.1992. Hereto annexed and marked Annexure 1 is the letter of request issued by Chairman of the People’s Human Rights Tribunal.