On Monday evening as first visuals of a blazing fire in a bus depot in Nayandahalli were shown on TV channels, the feeling first sank in that the protests over the Cauvery issue were spiralling out of control.
Around 150 to 200 protestors armed for arson with petrol bombs set on fire around 45 buses at a bus depot owned by KPN Travels at D’Souza Nagar, in Nayandahalli, on the outskirts of the city.
KPN, one of the largest private omnibus operators in South India came under attack as it is owned by a businessman from Salem in Tamil Nadu, KP Natarajan.
“This is the first time that our buses have been targeted in such a way. Cauvery skirmishes have happened in both states and sometimes buses have been attacked, but never at this scale,” Natarajan told The News Minute.
KPN Travels founded in 1972 operates buses in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Speaking over the phone from his house in Salem, Natarajan said, “I am a businessman. How will targeting my buses and business solve the Cauvery issue? We have nothing to do with it.”
Sleeper, semi-sleeper, AC and Non-AC buses parked at the depot were fully charred.
Natarajan says he is thankful none of his staff were critically injured. “The mob came prepared for arson. They attacked four or five drivers who were at the depot at that time. They were taken to hospitals. All the buses were set on fire. We will approach the police today.”
Natarajan from an interview to News 7 a few months ago
The businessman says his team will approach the police and file a complaint. “We will file a complaint. But what’s done is done. This kind of fear created is not good.”
It was not just KPN; many establishments owned by Tamilians came under attack in Bengaluru. One of the first attacks on Monday was on a mobile store on CMH road in the city.
Later establishments like Adyar Ananda Bhavan and others owned by Tamilians were targeted.
Chennai too saw similar attacks, but on a smaller scale. New Woodlands hotel and Karnataka bank were vandalised by protestors on Monday