Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said on Tuesday it was difficult to implement an order by the Supreme Court over Cauvery water sharing with Tamil Nadu, urging people to refrain from violent protests after the ruling.
Bengaluru has been placed under curfew after deadly violence erupted over the long-running dispute. Around 15,000 police officers were deployed on the largely deserted streets of the country’s IT capital to enforce a curfew, after rampaging, stone-pelting mobs set buses and cars ablaze. Police gunfire killed one protester and injured another on Monday night.
Another person died on Tuesday of injuries he suffered while escaping police lathi-charge on Monday, as sporadic protests were reported in Bengaluru, where an uneasy calm prevailed. The toll in the violence rose to two with a 30-year old man, who had jumped in panic from a three-storey building while trying to escape police lathicharge, succumbed to multiple injuries on Tuesday afternoon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the violence “distressful” and urged restraint in the city.
“As per the order, we have released water for six days. The order is hard to follow but we will still follow it,” Siddaramaiah said. “People should not take law in their own hands; not cause damage to public property,” he added.
A curfew was imposed in 15 areas of the city for the next three days “to maintain peace and prevent untoward incidents” during the Muslim holiday of Eid, Bengaluru police commissioner NS Megharikh said earlier
Around 200 protesters have been arrested on rioting on other charges in a bid to quell the violence, which has forced shops, offices and schools to close.
“This dispute can only be solved within the legal ambit. Breaking the law is not a viable alternative,” Modi said in a series of Tweets.
“The violence and arson seen in the last two days is only causing loss to the poor, and to our nation’s property.”
The Siddaramaiah-led government has warned of “stringent” action against vandalism or attempts to disturb peace.
“We have been facing injustice over the issue for a long time,” the Karnataka CM told a news conference. “Whoever lost his or her life in police firing will get Rs 10 lakh compensation.”
One person was killed on Monday in police firing as they took to the streets to quell the violence.
“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.”
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.
Bengaluru woke up to a tense morning on Tuesday with curfew and shoot-at-sight orders imposed in several parts of the city after the violence erupted.
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.