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Cauvery water dispute: Bengaluru limping back to normalcy

20 September 2016

Bengaluru, After violent protests against release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru is limping back to normalcy.

Businesses in the city, with an estimated population of around 10 million, have faced four days of disruption this month from the water dispute and an unrelated trade union-organised strike on September 2.

This week's disturbances, in which dozens of vehicles were set on fire, have been the most serious in a city where gleaming new business parks are supposed to reflect the face of a modern, booming India.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and request him to call a meeting of the Chief Ministers of both states to resolve the issue. PM Modi implored the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to stop the violence as it was only affecting the nation's poor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain over the attacks in the two States locked in a bitter river water sharing row and appealed for calm while stressing that violence can not provide solution to any problem. Sporadic protests have been reported in different parts of the State like Mandya, Chitradurga, Ramanagara and Mysuru. Television footage showed largely deserted streets as riot police patrolled.

"While the water is a basic requirement and an emotional issue, the situation is being exploited by miscreants, scaring away the peace loving workforce which has settled in both Bengaluru and Chennai from all over the country and even overseas", Rawat said.

Senior police officer L Chandrashekar told Reuters police had arrested 355 people.

Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, is home to major Indian IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro and Mphasis, as well as startups like Ola and Flipkart.

"The city is back to normalcy, with shops, hotels, offices, cinema theatres, petrol bunks and private establishments opening in all areas", said Megharikh. Tamil Nadu was peaceful, with security beefed up for businesses owned by Kannadigas and also for popular personalities of Karnataka origin.

Partial curfew was enforced three days since Tuesday after violence erupted on Monday in which one person was killed in police firing and 78 vehicles, including trucks and buses, were burnt across the city.

An Amazon India spokesperson said delivery of products has been temporarily impacted owing to the current situation.

A source familiar with the situation said outsourcing giants had closed yesterday because not all staff could work from home.

In an e-mailed statement, Wipro said: "Wipro has declared a holiday for employees in Karnataka on Tuesday, September 13".

In Bengaluru, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said: "It is true that violence is not a solution to any problem".

Addressing a press conference here after an emergency cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister also urged that the image of "Brand Bengaluru" as India's tech capital should not be sullied with further violence, as was witnessed on Monday.