In the backdrop of sporadic violence against Kannada people and establishments in Tamil Nadu and Tamil establishments in Bengaluru over the Cauvery dispute, the chief ministers of both the states have shot off letters to each other.
In his letter addressed to Jayalalithaa, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said that the news of a Tamil youth being attacked in Bengaluru had been blown out of proportion by media channels in Tamil Nadu and this was likely inciting passions against Kannada-speakers.
"Our Government is firmly committed to maintaining law and order in the State. We have taken utmost precaution to ensure the safety and security of all citizens, particularly Tamil speaking people, in the State," he wrote.
He went on to add:
While we are taking necessary precautions to ensure maintenance of law and order in our State, I would urge you to direct authorities in Tamil Nadu to ensure that perpetrators of violence are immediately brought to book. Further, you may also like to advice your authorities to ensure adequate safety and protection for Kannada speaking people in the State of Tamil Nadu.
In a separate statement on the violence, Siddaramaiah said "The Cauvery issue caused injustice every time. It has hurt every Kannadiga. We identify ourselves with the language we speak and the water we drink, but at the same time we must maintain peace. There have been attacks on Kannadigas and Kannadiga owned hotels in Tamil Nadu. Tamilians living in Karnataka have also been attacked in yesterday’s violence. I strongly condemn this. The government will take strict action against anyone who indulges in this kind of violence."
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa, in her letter, stated that the incidents in Tamil Nadu were "minor", and added that the situation in Karnataka is "alarming" and "causing considerable anxiety".
"Absolute restraint has been observed in Tamil Nadu by all sections. We have ensured that no major incidents of any kind targeting Kannada speaking people or their properties have occurred," she wrote.
She went on to add:
I am concerned that the situation in Karnataka is serious with several instances of mob violence targeting Tamil speaking persons and their property. As per the reports received, the violence has escalated and a large number of vehicles, including more than 40 buses, 45 lorries and many other vehicles bearing Tamil Nadu number plates have been burnt and damaged...Hotels and properties belonging to Tamils in Karnataka are being attacked and damaged. This is an alarming situation and is causing considerable anxiety.
On Tuesday, the situation in Bengaluru remained tense as the Bengaluru City Police imposed curfew in 16 areas of the city.
Earlier this week, the Karnataka CM had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested for a meeting between the chief ministers of the two states.
Siddaramaiah had then said, “The unrest if continued will not only have a serious of impact on the economy of the state particularly the IT economy which brings enormous revenue and foreign exchange to the country but will also impact the livelihood of the common man adversely in the large parts of the State.”