Cauvery row: Bengaluru, Chennai in flames

Bengaluru: Tension gripped the city on Monday as rumours spread that curfew was clamped in some areas and protesters were forcing closure of shops and hotels over the Supreme Court order to release more Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu. Denying any such situation, police asked the people to maintain peace. "The situation is under control. There is no curfew in the city or any ban order issued. Rumour-mongers are causing panic by spreading wrong news about a shutdown being imposed," Police Commissioner N.S. Megharik told reporters here. Even as some miscreants torched at least six trucks with Tamil Nadu registration numbers on the city's outskirts and blocked roads by burning tyres and effigies, Megharik appealed to the city's 10 million denizens to maintain peace and remain calm.

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Hundreds of pro-Kannada activists staged demonstrations in many areas of the city protesting attacks on Kannadigas and Karnataka registered buses in Chennai and some parts of Tamil Nadu earlier in the day. In view of the brewing tension, inter-state buses with Tamil Nadu registration suspended services to the neighbouring state. Trucks and other vehicles also withdrew operating in the city. Tension was brewing in the city and across the Mysuru region, including Mandya since afternoon after the apex court directed Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs daily from Tuesday up to September 20 in response to the state's interim petition to allow it only 10,000 cusecs daily for six days - from September 7 to September 12.

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The top court had on September 5 directed the state to release 15,000 cusecs daily for 10 days from September 7 to September 16 in response to Tamil Nadu's plea for 50 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of the river water.  Meanwhile, security had been tightened across the city to prevent attacks over the Cauvery issue and in view of Eid on Tuesday, said Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwar. "We have intensified security and stepped up vigil in Bengaluru to ensure peace and maintain law and order. Additional police forces have been deployed in localities where Tamils live for their protection," Parameshwar told reporters here. "I appeal to the people, especially the protesters not to attack anyone or damage public property, including buses, cars and transport vehicles," he reiterated. Expressing disappointment over the apex court's latest order, the minister said though the state had respect for the court, the government would again approach it to modify the latest order due to water shortage in the reservoirs. Meanwhile, contingents of the Karnataka State Reserve Police have been rushed to Mandya and Mysuru for deployment on the state highways and protecting reservoirs in the river basin from being attacked by angry protestors. IANS