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Riot breaks out over river water dispute in India

12 September 2016 22:21


Thousands of riot police forces have been deployed to the streets of the Indian city of Bangalore, where protests turned violent over a long-standing river water dispute.

Violence broke out on Monday after India’s Supreme Court ordered the southern state of Karnataka to release 12,000 cubic feet of water per second per day from the Cauvery river in Bangalore to its neighboring state of Tamil Nadu until September 20.

Farmers in both states, who depend on the river to irrigate their crops, have complained for decades of severe water shortages.

A truck from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu burns after it was set alight following the Supreme Court’s order to release water to Tamil Nadu on September 12, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

According to local media reports, protesters set fire to 35 trucks and buses, causing disruption in inter-state movement between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Local metro network was temporarily suspended and many schools in Bangalore were ordered closed.

Offices and shops were also shut down in the city as young men with iron rods attacked properties owned by people from Tamil Nadu.

Members of security forces make their way past burning lorries, which were set on fire by protesters in Bengalore, India, on September 12, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

Police said more than 15,000 officers, including riot police and border security forces, had been deployed to rein in the unrest.

“We have intensified security and stepped up vigil in Bangalore to ensure peace and maintain law and order,” Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwar said.

“I appeal to the people, especially the protesters, not to attack anyone or damage public property, including buses, cars and transport vehicles,” he added.

The Karnataka state government has appealed against the top court ruling.

India is grappling with severe water shortages that precipitate frequent tensions between states. In the meantime, disputes over water resources are common as farmers are largely dependent on monsoon rains and rivers for their crops.

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