The violence in the Cauvery water dispute claimed its second life today, as an uneasy calm hung over worst-hit Bengaluru amid sporadic protests in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu marked by targeted attacks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain over the attacks in the two states locked in a bitter river water sharing row and appealed for calm while stressing that violence cannot provide solution to any problem. He asserted that the dispute can only be solved within the legal ambit and “breaking the law is not a viable alternative”.
As the country’s IT capital and other affected districts showed signs of limping back to normalcy, Karnataka government decided to obey the Supreme Court’s modified order asking it to release 12,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till September 20 and warned of dealing with violence during protests against it with an “iron hand”.
The decision was taken after an emergency Cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was held in Bengaluru to take stock of the Apex Court direction and yesterday’s violence over release of water.
Hundreds of security personnel kept a tight vigil even as police said 365 people were arrested in connection with the violence in Karnataka which was blamed on Kannada activists and fringe groups. Police are conducting combing operations in several sensitive areas and dispersing assembled crowds.
Protests over the Cauvery issue continued in some parts of Tamil Nadu for the second day with fringe outfits like Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) holding agitations outside Kannada establishments in Chennai and in Coimbatore. Inter-state bus movements between the two states were also affected.
The toll in the Cauvery stir related violence rose to two when a 30-year old man, who had allegedly jumped in panic from a three-storey building while trying to escape police lathicharge in Bengaluru,succumbed to multiple injuries today.
“Kumar, about 30 years old, has died. He was brought to our hospital at 9:30 last night in a critical stage. He is said to have jumped from third floor of a building as he was trying to escape from a lathicharge yesterday,” Dr Giridhar, Managing Director of Lakshmi Multi-Speciality Hospital, said.
One person was killed and another injured in police firing in the country’s IT capital yesterday after sudden eruption of widespread violence, escalating tensions between the two states.
Curfew, imposed late last night, continued to remain in force in 16 police station limits of Bengaluru which is under prohibitory orders till September 14. There were very few vehicles moving on city roads, with schools and colleges and also government offices remaining shut due to Bakrid holiday.
A bus that was half burnt yesterday was torched once again today near New Timber layout and another vehicle was also set on fire near Tigalarapalya. Both had Tamil Nadu registration number plates.
Police lobbed tear gas at Hegganahalli and Pattegarapalaya as protesters tried to burn tyres on the streets, defying curfew.
Sporadic protests have been reported in different parts of the state like Mandya, Chitradurga, Ramanagara and Mysuru.
In Chitradurga, a lorry bearing Tamil Nadu registration number was burnt, while in Ramanagara protesters held demonstrations in front of a farmhouse that reportedly belongs to a daughter of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. Shooting of a Tamil film was stopped by protesters at Jaganmohan palace in Mysuru, police said.