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Six die as Bangalore mourns and riots

AN UNRULY requiem for "Aannavaru (elder brother)" Rajkumar claimed at least six lives as tens of thousands of angry fans smashed cars, burnt buses and battled with the police on Thursday.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2006 12:47 IST

AN UNRULY requiem for "Aannavaru (elder brother)" Rajkumar claimed at least six lives as tens of thousands of angry fans smashed cars, burnt buses and battled with the police on Thursday.

Life in Bangalore came to a standstill as all MNCs, bio-tech, banks and private companies and state-owned enterprises, educational institutions, markets and restaurants closed down to mark the actor's funeral and last rites.

India's Silicon Valley too logged out for the day with 1,500-odd info-tech companies -- including Infosys Technologies Limited and Wipro Limited -- declaring a holiday for their three lakh-odd employees as a mark of respect for the actor.

M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda, secretary, Department of IT and BT, Government of Karnataka, said: "The decision by IT and bio-tech companies to shut down as a mark of respect was voluntary. We're told that the shutdown was total."

Fans, meanwhile, vent their ire on the police and public property when they were prevented from paying homage to Karnataka’s icon who passed away on Wednesday. The violence commenced hours within hours of his death.

Late on Wednesday, the actor’s body had been moved to Kanteerava Stadium. On Thursday morning, the stadium was packed to capacity with fans but most could not catch a glimpse of Rajkumar’s body. Those who tried to gatecrash were pushed out of the stadium or caned. Later, the police lobbed teargas shells to chase away groups of youth who were setting vehicles around the stadium on fire.

Result: through the day, angry fans knocked down police barricades, hurled stones at policemen and set ablaze government vehicles outside the stadium and all along the route to Kanteerava Studio, in the city’s outskirts, where Rajkumar was laid to rest with state honours in the evening.  Scores — admirers and policemen — were injured, but the police gave no official figure.

They said the dead were identified as Muniraju, who died when policemen opened fire outside the stadium, and Manjunath, a 25-year-old constable, who died of head injuries. Fans ran amok outside Kanteerava Studio too and set fire to a couple of police vehicles. Subsequently, the police resorted to firing in which four people were killed.

 

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