Politics

Cauvery Dispute: Bengaluru Police Imposes Section 144

Screenshot from a video showing a bus from Karnataka being vandalised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. Credit: Twitter

Screenshot from a video showing a bus from Karnataka being vandalised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. Credit: Twitter

Bengaluru police have announced that Section 144 of the CrPC will be imposed in the city starting 5 pm today. This means that no more than five people will be allowed to gather in public places in Bengaluru.

 

There have been several reports of violence in the city and other parts of Karnataka after the Supreme Court modified its order on the sharing of the water of the Cauvery river earlier today. The modified order asks Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu till September 20. The court rejected Karnataka’s plea that it will end up releasing a larger amount of water under this new order.

The court also criticised Karnataka for employing people’s protests as an argument for its case, saying, “Citizens cannot become a law unto themselves. When a court passes an order, it is the duty of citizens to obey it… It is the obligation of the executive to see that it is complied with in letter and spirit,” it said.

The violence began this morning. The International Business Times (IBT) reported that unidentified people allegedly hurled petrol bombs at the Kannadiga-owned Woodlands Hotel in Chennai. NDTV reported that around 10 members from a fringe group broke into the hotel, and broke window panes and glasses. The vandals allegedly also left pamphlets warning retaliation if Tamil people were attacked in Karnataka. Police have arrested four people in connection with the incident.

Shops and vehicles belonging to Tamil Nadu have been attacked in Bengaluru as well as Mysore, according to NDTV.

There have been several instances of buses being vandalised across Karnataka and some instances in Tamil Nadu as well. Activists from the Naam Tamilar Katchi party beat up a bus driver and damaged a bus in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, according to the IBT. Another five vehicles from Karnataka and one bus were also attacked in Rameswaram.

An attack by pro-Kannada activists resulted in the government suspending bus services from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu. Police have been stationed along the highway to warn cars against crossing the border between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Within Bengaluru, schools and colleges have closed early in response to the chaos in the city. The metro suspended its services for 20 minutes as a precaution but while it has resumed functioning, there has been no word on buses resuming service yet.

Local news channels have been reporting that the Bengaluru police have imposed section 144 in the city, which does not allow groups of more than four people to congregate in public. However, Bengaluru police took to their Twitter account to dispel the rumours, categorically denying that the section 144 is in place in the city.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah also tweeted to urge people to maintain peace. He also tweeted in reference to an incident that took place over the weekend. A man, believed to be from Tamil Nadu was beaten up in Bengaluru over posting about the Cauvery dispute on social media. A video recording of the incident has since gone viral. Siddaramaiah assured his Twitter followers that the police were working to nab the attackers.

According to IBT, the government has deployed personnel from the Karnataka State Reserve Police, City Armed Reserve Police, Rapid Action Force and Quick Reaction Teams on Bengaluru’s streets to check ongoing violence.