Bengaluru: As the Cauvery water sharing row raged, violence flared up in the city with rampaging mobs setting fire to at least 30 buses and trucks with Tamil Nadu registration number plate and bringing the country’s IT capital on the edge.
Shortly after the modified Supreme Court order on release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and amid reports of alleged attacks on Kannadigas in the neighbouring state, violence broke out sending a wave of panic across the city, which was brought under prohibitory orders till normalcy is restored.
Buses and trucks with Tamil Nadu registration number plate and several shops and establishments with roots there bore the brunt of vandalism by protesters with a travel company depot being the worst affected with several parked buses buses set afire.
Incidents of arson came even as police said they have made elaborate security arrangements with 15,000 policemen being deployed, bolstered by Karnataka State Reserve Police, City Armed Reserve Police, Rapid Action Force, Quick Reaction Teams, special forces, Central Industrial Security Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force.
Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara said the government did not expect the protest to go to this extent.
“We expected that if the decision goes against us, there will be some protest, but definitely not to this extent. This is all hit and run kind of thing where 20-30 people join together to protest where police are not there, then they suddenly run away”.
The situation was being brought under control, he said adding that 200 people been detained.
He said forces have been deployed at sensitive points, particularly where Tamil population and establishments are located. “We have taken utmost precaution. We have received 10 companies of central forces. We have requested for more.”
Trucks with Tamil Nadu registration number plate were either stoned or set on fire also in Mandya, Mysuru,Chitradurga and Dharwad districts as Kannada activists gave vent to their anger over alleged attacks on state vehicles and property of Kannadigas in the neighbouring state and also against the apex court modified order.
The Supreme Court, modifying its September 5 order, today asked Karnataka to release a reduced amount of 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery River water to Tamil Nadu till September 20.
In its September five order, the apex court had directed release of 15,000 cusecs for 10 days to ameliorate the plight of farmers of the neighbouring state, which had triggered strong protests from farmers and pro-Kannada outfits with Karnataka observing a bandh against it on September nine.