Rail Roko Fails To Disrupt Bengaluru's Return to Normalcy

Bengaluru has returned to normal life after two days of violent protests following the Supreme Court's order on the Cauvery dispute.


Police facing protestors in Bengaluru, earlier this week. Credit: PTI

Police facing protestors in Bengaluru, earlier this week. Credit: PTI

Bengaluru has returned to normal life after two days of violent protests following the Supreme Court’s order on the Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Curfew has been lifted from all parts of the city, though some areas still have high security as a precautionary measure. Bengaluru police commissioner N.S. Megharikh told Indian Express that the curfew was lifted by 9 am this morning.

Schools, colleges, offices have reopened. Public transportation within the city, which was completely stalled for last week’s bandh and also suffered during the violence, is back to functioning regularly. However, the movement of buses between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu remains restricted. State officials are currently engaged in retrieving 54 Karnataka buses which have been stuck in Chennai.

Shops too have reopened across the city. In the Hegganahalli neighbourhood, where two people died in a police firing earlier this week, some shopkeepers opened their shutters despite patrolling police officers’ advise against it. They said they could not afford to lose any more business, according to a report by the Hindu. The report added that shops around the Satellite Bus Station on Mysuru Road also opened up slowly over the course of the morning. Other areas of the city reported traffic jams at some junctions, signalling a return to daily life.

Karnataka’s home minister G. Parameshwara, along with senior police officers, went on a tour of Bengaluru’s violence hit areas to inspect the damage and speak to residents. He met with people in Hegganhalli and Jai Bheem Nagar, which saw stone-pelting from protestors. The locality is also near the private bus depot at Hosakerehalli where about 39 buses were set on fire or vandalised over the past week, the Hindu reported.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru’s railway police assured people that the announced ‘rail roko’ scheduled for today would not stop the trains from running. Pro-Kannada activists called for the rail roko from 6 am to 6pm as another form of protesting the Supreme Court’s decision and drawing attention to the dispute. However, police claimed to have put precautionary measures in place and stepped up security at the 250 railway stations in the Bengaluru area to avoid more violence from breaking out.

“Extra forces have been deputed in railway stations at Bengaluru city, Yeshwanthapura, Cantonment, Mysuru, Mandya, Tumkuru, Hubballi and Raichur. Policemen will be present at stations across the state. There will no bandh for trains,” a Karnataka Railway police officer told Indian Express.

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