Cauvery issue: Bengaluru saw protests and vandalism on streets, prohibitory orders imposed
Bengaluru: One person died and another received injuries after police opened fire on protesters in Bengaluru's Rajgopalnagar area on Monday evening. Arson and vandalism was seen on the streets of Bengaluru and on a highway to Mysuru as anger boiled over on a Supreme Court order that meant that Karnataka would have to release more water from the river Cauvery to neighbor Tamil Nadu. Some 15,000 policemen have been posted across the IT city.
Here are 10 developments in the story:
Mobs burnt Tamil Nadu-registered trucks and buses on the roads and vandalized shops in the city. An NDTV team saw about two dozen buses being set on fire at a bus depot around 17 km from Bengaluru. "We will give blood but not Cauvery," screamed slogan shouting protesters.
The state's Congress government and the police appeared to be severely challenged by the scale of protests and the damage to public property. Images showed young men turning over an Innova car and wrecking it using rods, and throwing stones at shops. The Supreme Court had earlier said on protests in Karnataka: "Citizens cannot become a law unto themselves."
In the evening, large gatherings were banned in Bengaluru as a precaution. Most schools and colleges and some offices were closed early and metro services were briefly stopped.
Thousands of policemen, including those in riot gear, spread out across the city to check violence. The centre also rushed ten companies comprising 1,000 personnel of the special anti-riot paramilitary force RAF to Karnataka. Karnataka stopped buses from heading to Tamil Nadu and police jeeps were positioned along the border to warn vehicles against entering that state.
There were protests also in Tamil Nadu. The New Woodlands hotel in Chennai, owned by a Karnataka company, was vandalised by a fringe group that allegedly also threw a petrol bomb and left pamphlets warning of retaliation if Tamils were targeted in Karnataka. Four of 10 attackers have been arrested. Five tourist vehicles from Karnataka, including two buses, were damaged by protesters in Rameswaram in southern Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in a letter to his Tamil Nadu counterpart Jayalalithaa, urged her to take action against those involved in violence against Kannada speaking people in her state. He also said the attack on a young man in Bengaluru was "blown out of proportion".
The man - reported to be Tamil - was attacked and humiliated in Bengaluru on Saturday by a group allegedly over his comments on social media on the Cauvery dispute. In a video of the attack that went viral, the engineering student was slapped and kicked by the men. The police suspect he was attacked after his post on Facebook mocking Kannada actors was widely circulated.
Ms Jayalalithaa too wrote to Mr Siddaramaiah on Monday evening, seeking protection for Tamil speaking people and their property. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also called up Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and assured them all central assistance in handling the law and order situation.
Trouble resurfaced in the decades-old dispute over the Cauvery river, which flows through Karnataka into Tamil Nadu, after the Supreme Court last week asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water to its neighbour.