Bengaluru/Chennai: An uneasy calm enveloped Bengaluru even as protests erupted at Mandya and Mysuru in southern Karnataka on Tuesday over the Cauvery water row with Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu was peaceful, with security beefed up for businesses owned by Kannadigas and also for popular personalities of Karnataka origin.
However, angry truck owners in Tamil Nadu told the media that they would hold a demonstration in Hosur town, condemning the burning of around 45 trucks by hooligans in Karnataka.
In Bengaluru, India’s IT hub, one person was killed and two others were injured in police firing on Monday night to quell violence.
Violence erupted in Karnataka on Monday following stray incidents of violence in Tamil Nadu in retaliation to the attack on a Tamil youth in Karnataka.
A hotel promoted by a Kannadiga and some vehicles with Karnataka registration were attacked at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
In Bengaluru, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said: “It is true that violence is not a solution to any problem. We have decided to impose law and order with an iron hand.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for peace in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “The violence and arson seen in the last two days is only causing loss to the poor, and to our nation’s property.”
Referring to the Supreme Court order to Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu till September 20, Siddaramaiah said: “It is difficult to implement the order but we will ensure enough drinking water for Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and other Cauvery basin areas.”
According to him, the Supreme Court’s Monday order on release of 12,000 cusecs water to Tamil Nadu till September 20 reflects Karnataka’s inability to implement the September 5 judgement to release 15,000 cusecs per day.
Bengaluru police imposed curfew for three days from early Tuesday in the city’s north-west, south-west, north east and central areas. “The situation is peaceful across the city,” said Bengaluru Police Commissioner N.S. Megharikh.
Curfew was relaxed since morning for Muslims to offer Eid prayers at mosques and Idgah maidan in some localities.
Though schools, colleges, government and private offices and banks have holiday for Eid, several IT firms and back offices which are working told their techies to work from homes.
Shops, markets, malls, hotels, restaurants, cinema theatres and commercial establishments observed an undeclared shutdown across the city due to fear of being attacked by protesters.
Buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws went off the roads. The metro rail has been suspended till evening.
Hundreds of passengers alighting at railway stations in Bengaluru and at the airport on the outskirts had a harrowing time reaching home in the absence of taxis, autos and buses.
State-run and private bus services to and from Tamil Nadu have been suspended from Karnataka. But trains and flights are operating to Chennai and other cities in Tamil Nadu.
Cable operators in Bengaluru blocked all the 52 Tamil television channels to prevent retaliatory attacks and check emotions.
A quarter of the 10 million people in Bengaluru are Tamils — the second largest community after Kannadigas.
Vehicular traffic on the 150 km Bengaluru-Mysuru highway remained affected due to protests.
Condemning the attacks on Kannadigas and their properties in Tamil Nadu over the century-old row, Siddaramaiah said the people in other states should cooperate in maintaining law and order.
In Tamil Nadu, police took several steps to prevent any violence. More than 100 police patrol teams were pressed into service for round-the-clock protection of businesses owned by people of Karnataka origin.