Cauvery water dispute: Violence eases as curfew imposed in parts of Bengaluru

The curfew came after rampaging mobs set fire to dozens of buses, trucks and cars and attacked shops and businesses in Bengaluru and some other parts of the state, police said.

By: AP | New Delhi | Updated: September 13, 2016 2:13 pm
cauvery water dispute, bengaluru violence, bengaluru protest, bengaluru curfew, bengaluru situation, cauvery water row, cauvery river water, india news, indian express, Police secure a highway after it was blocked by pro-Karnataka protesters in Bengaluru. (AP Photo)

Incidents of looting and vandalism eased Tuesday in parts of Bengaluru after authorities imposed a curfew amid widespread protests overnight over Supreme Court’s ordering Karnataka to release water from the Cauvery river to a Tamil Nadu. On Monday, police fired at a group of protesters who set on fire a police jeep and motorbike killing one protester and wounding another in Bengaluru, police officer Madhukar Narote.

Authorities then imposed the curfew in the troubled parts of Bengaluru, bringing the situation under control, he said. The curfew came after rampaging mobs set fire to dozens of buses, trucks and cars and attacked shops and businesses in Bengaluru and some other parts of the state, police said. Television images showed dozens of buses, with license plates from neighboring Tamil Nadu state, burning in a private transport company depot. The company’s managing director, Rajesh Natarajan, said nearly 40 buses were burned or damaged, PTI reported.

The Cauvery River, which originates in Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu, has been the source of a bitter water dispute for decades. Karnataka officials told the court that the state did not have enough water reserves to share.

Earlier Monday, protesters in Tamil Nadu vandalized a hotel in the city of Chennai owned by people from Karnataka, triggering violent protests in both states. Last week, the Supreme Court ordered Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) for 10 days to Tamil Nadu, a move that led to protests by Karnataka farmers, who say they have no water for their fields.

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The Karnataka government then appealed the ruling to the top court, which reduced the daily supply to Tamil Nadu. Police in Bengaluru passed prohibitory orders preventing the gathering of more than five people after angry mobs smashed the windows of several buses from Tamil Nadu and attacked bus drivers.

Many schools in Bengaluru were closed Monday. Offices and shops were closed as groups of young men wandered the streets attacking property owned by people from Tamil Nadu. In Mandya, protesters set fire to trucks and buses bearing Tamil Nadu license plates.

Karnataka authorities have stopped bus services to Tamil Nadu for an unspecified period of time to prevent passengers from being attacked. Farmers in India are largely dependent on monsoon rains and rivers to irrigate their crops. But with successive poor monsoons, rivers and reservoirs have been running dry and farmers in many places have been forced to cut the number of crops they grow.