Violent protests have broken out in the southern technology hub of southern India's Bangalore over a Supreme Court order to divert water from reservoirs to a neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. A state-wide strike was called on Friday (Sept 9) that forced hundreds of offices to close in Bangalore, home to many of India's top technology companies.
Protests were also staged by fringe Tamil outfits in parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with some commercial and government establishments of Karnataka being targeted.
Incidents of attacks on buses, trucks and hotels were reported in both the states, sparking fresh tensions. The protests have forced shops, businesses and schools to close in Bangalore, capital of Karnataka that was ordered by the Supreme Court to release water into the Cauvery river to ease a shortage in Tamil Nadu.
Vehicles with Tamil Nadu registration plates have been attacked and protesters have blocked roads by burning tyres and effigies of politicians.
Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwar said police reinforcements had been deployed, particularly in areas inhabited by ethnic Tamils who could be a target.
'I appeal to the people, especially the protesters, not to attack anyone or damage public property, including buses, cars and transport vehicles,' he said.
A top Karnataka police official Om Prakash said the situation was tense, but under control.
Elaborate security arrangements are in place in the city with 15,000 policemen being deployed.
At least six lorries with Tamil Nadu registration were set on fire or stoned and a Chennai-based mobile shop and two hotels were attacked in Bengaluru, police said, as activists of different pro-Kannada outfits took to the streets.
In Mandya district, the epicentre of the Cauvery agitation, the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway was blocked.
In the capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, a popular Kannadiga-owned hotel and seven tourist vehicles bearing Karnataka registration in Rameswaram were vandalised while protesters created a ruckus at Karnataka Bank branches in Erode and neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry, police said.
Movement of commercial and non-commercial vehicles including two-wheelers to Karnataka from Erode was restricted while inter-state road transport through Hosur was also affected on account of escalating protests in Karnataka.
The violence flared up shortly after the Supreme Court, modifying its September 5 order, asked Karnataka to release a reduced amount of 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery River water to Tamil Nadu till September 20.
The Cauvery Supervisory Committee, meanwhile, at its meeting in Delhi failed to arrive at a decision on quantum of Cauvery river water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states in furtherance of the Supreme Court order and decided to meet again on September 19.