Bangalore was brought to its knees on Monday, Sept. 12, as protesters agitating against the Supreme Court’s order to Karnataka – to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu – resorted to violence in the city that ultimately led to the death of one of their own. The incidents happened on the same day the Supreme Court modified its earlier order and reduced the quantum of water to be released by Karnataka.
Monday’s violence left a never-seen-before scar on Bangalore. As the protesters targeted vehicles registered in Tamil Nadu and eateries owned by Tamil individuals, the Bengaluru City Police at 5 p.m. imposed Section 144 of the CrPC on the city, and a few hours later extended it to three days – until Sept. 14 – in view of the deteriorating law and order situation.
The ball got rolling for Monday’s protests a day earlier, when a video emerged of a Tamil student being abused by people in Karnataka over a Facebook post he had written, in which he had portrayed Kannada actors in poor light.
This is believed to have led to two incidents in Tamil Nadu on Monday. In the first of these, unidentified miscreants threw petrol bombs at an eatery owned by a Kannadiga individual in Mylapore in Chennai. In the second, members of a small-time political party stopped a bus and beat up its Kannadiga driver in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
Even as this was happening, the Karnataka government approached the Supreme Court over the amount of water to be released to Tamil Nadu, and the apex court modified its Sept. 5 order and directed the state to release less water to Tamil Nadu.
However, the chain of violence had reached a momentum in Bangalore where it showed no signs of stopping. By the afternoon, most schools in the city decided to close, sending the children home. Bus services were affected in many parts of Bangalore, and the Namma Metro service was also stopped. At least 15,000 policemen descended on the streets to control the situation.
The situation turned more violent towards the evening, with the police having to resort to firing at an unruly mob in the Peenya region of northern Bangalore. One of those injured in the firing later succumbed to his injuries. Meanwhile, irate protesters set fire to 56 buses belonging to a private transport company owned by a Tamil man.
Later at night, the protesters also pelted stones at the residence of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who had earlier in the day called for peace.