Rage over river… PM Modi, state govts appeal for calm

RSTV Bureau
Bengaluru : A vehicle from Tamil Nadu in flames after it was torched during a protest over Cauvery water row, in Bengaluru, September 12, 2016. Photo - PTI

Bengaluru : A vehicle from Tamil Nadu in flames after it was torched during a protest over Cauvery water row, in Bengaluru, September 12, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Parts of Bengaluru are under curfew after violent protest escalated Monday over the emotive issue of sharing river Cauvery waters with neighbouring state Tamil Nadu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed for calm saying he is pained over developments in Karnataka. Violence cannot resolve any problem, he said in his message over the tense situation in two southern states.

As situation remains tense, Karnataka CM once again appealed for calm even as he warned of strict action against vandalism or attempts to disturb peace. Several other cities in Karnataka had witnessed violence on Monday.

The Central government too appealed for calm addressing the people of both the states. Two persons have been killed in  the violence so far.

“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,” Siddaramaiah said in a video message to the people of the state.

“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 appealing to the people to stay away from violence.

Bengaluru : Firefighters trying to douse a fire in Tamil Nadu bound buses  after they were torched by pro-Kannada activists during a protest over Cauvery water row, in Bengaluru, Sept 12, 2016. Photo - PTI

Bengaluru : Firefighters trying to douse a fire in Tamil Nadu bound buses after they were torched by pro-Kannada activists during a protest over Cauvery water row, in Bengaluru, Sept 12, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Protests erupted last week in Karnataka soon after the Supreme Court order directing Karnataka to share river waters with Tamil Nadu.

On Monday, the Supreme Court modified its September 5 order reducing the amount of water to be released by Karnataka to 12,000 cusecs from 15,000 cusecs as asked originally. The government of Karnataka had on Sunday moved the top court seeking a restriction on the quantum of water to be released from River Cauvery to Tamil Nadu, from 15,000 cusecs to 1,000 cusecs, citing the law and order problem in the state.

But on Monday, the situation turned violent with Tamil Nadu-bound buses attacked in Karnataka besides spike in protest in several parts of the tates. The state government has now decided to tighten the vigil, with the help of central forces, particularly in areas inhabited by Tamils and other “sensitive” localities.

There were also alarming incidents of Kannada-speaking people being targeted in Tamil Nadu.

Taking up the issue with his Tamil Nadu counterpart, Siddaramaiah wrote to J Jayalalithaa asking her to ensure their safety and protection while assuring her that interests of Tamils in the state would be safeguarded.

Mandya: Kannada people holding a protest over Cauvery water row in Mandya district, Sept 12, 2016. Photo - PTI

Mandya: Kannada people holding a protest over Cauvery water row in Mandya district, Sept 12, 2016.
Photo – PTI

“While we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure maintenance of law and order in our State, I would urge you to direct authorities in Tamil Nadu to ensure that perpetrators of violence are immediately brought to book,” Siddaramaiah said in his letter, released to the media.

Hours after, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa too wrote to Siddaramaiah, seeking protection for Tamil speaking people and their property in Karnataka. She also assured her counterpart that safety of people from Karnataka will be ensured in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday night called up CMs of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, assuring them all central assistance in handling the law and order situation.

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.

The Centre has also rushed 10 companies (about 1,000 personnel) of the special anti-riot paramilitary force RAF to Karnataka.

(With inputs from the Agencies)