Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that riots in Bengaluru over sharing River Cauvery’s water were “distressful” and the issue must be resolved peacefully between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Protestors, angry about a Supreme Court decision calling on Karnataka to divert some of the water from the River Cauvery to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, torched vehicles and pelted stones at people on Monday.
One person was killed in police firing as security forces took to the streets to quell the violence in Bangalore on Monday.
“Situation that has emerged in Karnataka & Tamil Nadu, as a fallout of issue of distribution of waters of Cauvery River, is distressful,” Modi said on Twitter. “This dispute can only be solved within the legal ambit. Breaking the law is not a viable alternative.”
I appeal to the people of the two States, to display sensitivity, and also keep in mind their civic responsibilities: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 13, 2016
Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the violence can’t be justified on any ground. It negates the rule of law and ultimately impacts the life of the common man, he said.
As Bengaluru witnessed widespread violence bringing it on the edge, night curfew was imposed in 16 police station limits late on Monday.
“The Cauvery water issue is sub-judice and the Supreme Court has given a direction after listening to both the States. If still there are any issues, leadership of both the states could discuss the same and come out with a way forward,” Naidu said.
“Violence and counter-violence would only further complicate the matters and is not in the interest of any State. Both the state governments should take effective measures to check the violence immediately,” he said.
India’s IT capital Bengaluru woke up to a tense morning on Tuesday with curfew and shoot-at-sight orders imposed in several parts of the city after violence erupted across Karnataka over the decades-long Cauvery water-sharing dispute with Tamil Nadu.
Authorities reported no overnight violence after one man was killed and another injured as rioters set at least 30 buses ablaze and vandalised shops. Metro and bus services are likely to suspended for the second straight day on Tuesday.
But fear continued to spread through video footage of flames leaping out of charred vehicles and threats of attacks on Tamil people in Bengaluru circulating over WhatsApp, forcing local police to issue advisories.
“Videos of attacks on Kannada-speaking people in various parts of Tamil Nadu triggered violent protests in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mandya,” said Karnataka home minister G Parameshawara. He appealed to the people not to believe in WhatsApp messages.
More than 15,000 security personnel patrolled sensitive areas in Bengaluru and will be out in full force on Tuesday, but the brunt of the violence was felt by Mysore and Mandya were scores of buses and trucks with Tamil Nadu registration plates were torched.
Karnataka chief minister S Sidhharamaiah called an emergency cabinet meeting at 11am to discuss the situation. Before that, at around 9am, he has convened an all-party meeting.