An uneasy calm prevailed in the city this morning after outbreak of violence over the issue of sharing Cauvery River water with Tamil Nadu, as the Siddaramaiah government warned of “stringent” action against vandalism or attempts to disturb peace.
As the city police bolstered by central forces kept a tight vigil, particularly in areas inhabited by Tamils and other “sensitive” localities, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah made a fresh appeal for peace.
In a video message to the people of the state, Siddaramaiah warned of stringent action against any act of vandalism or disturbance to peace.
“There is pain among Kannadigas that Karnataka has been facing repeated injustice over Cauvery river water sharing issue.
“We are emotional on the issue of land, water and language, but we should not forget that humanity and human relationship within us is above all this,” he said.
Holding that attack on Kannadigas and their properties in Tamil Nadu is “condemnable”, he said, “At this time of difficulty we should not allow anger to take over.
“People of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu should cooperate in maintaining law and order in both states. I would also warn strict action against any one indulging in any kind of vandalism or disturbing peace,” he 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, now locked in a bitter tussle over release of Cauvery water.
As the orgy of violence targeting Tamil Nadu buses and lorries and other vehicles brought the city on the edge, night curfew was imposed in 16 police station limits late last night and the entire city is under prohibitory orders till September 14.
Elaborate security arrangements are in place with 15,000 policemen being deployed, besides 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.
In view of the tense situation, the Centre has also rushed 10 companies (about 1,000 personnel) of the special anti-riot paramilitary force RAF to Karnataka after the Chief Minister spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The city that saw widespread violence, appeared to be limping back to normalcy, with no fresh incidents of violence being reported since last night.
Maintaining that the situation is peaceful, police said stringent action would be taken against miscreants or vandals.
The bustling IT city was bereft of its monstrous traffic. There were very few vehicles moving on city roads, with schools and colleges also government offices remaining shut on account of Bakrid today.
State-run transport services remained skeletal with very few buses plying on roads in select areas.
Officials said transport services to Tamil Nadu remain suspended.
According to Metro Rail authorities, its services will remain temporarily suspended.
Prohibitory orders were relaxed in Idgah ground areas to facilitate Muslim community to offer Bakrid prayers.
Sporadic protests were reported in Mandya, the nucleus of the Cauvery agitation, where protesters burnt Tamil newspapers.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah held a meeting with senior Congress leaders from the state. The state cabinet is also holding an emergency cabinet meeting today.
Water Resource Minister M B Patil said the cabinet would discuss and “we will decide on what has to be done next.”
The Supreme Court, modifying its September 5 order, had yesterday 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 neighboring state, which had triggered strong protests from farmers and pro-Kannada outfits with Karnataka observing a bandh against it on September nine.