September 13, 2016
But protests singe Tamil Nadu too, causing severe losses to business establishments as Cauvery water sharing war rages between the two states.
Brand Bengaluru was hit very badly by the few hours of vandalism that saw hooligans torching vehicles, beating up people and generally holding the India’s Silicon Valley to ransom, all in the name of protesting giving Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu. If Kannadigas were targeting Tamilians and their properties and vehicles, its retaliation was found in Tamil Nadu, though relatively Kannda activists were more violent in terms of the damage they inflicted.
But for Karnataka, the loss is much more than was meets the eye. It is in the damage done to Brand Bengaluru, home to most of the India offices of Fortune 500 companies.
“Violence in the state capital and other parts of Karnataka has severely dented the image of Bengaluru as Silicon Valley of India, home to almost all the Fortune 500 companies,” said a leading business chamber, ASSOCHAM.
IT firm honchos and knowledge sector top shots admitted that Bengaluru’s image was certainly dented given the fact that hooligans went to work, destroying properties, vehicles and instilling fear among linguistic minorities.
More lasting damage to the image of Bengaluru was the scare inflicted on the minds of the outsiders who make the city a global city, and a hub of thriving energy where new ideas flourish. But IT majors, leaders in the globe like IBM or Indian global brand Infosys, Wipro and the like, shut down their operations, setting a very bad impression.
For sure, this would send a wrong message to the global firms which may look at other options, cities, at a time when there is severe competition for investments from across cities. “It sure is a bad advertisement for Bengaluru and the damage the lumpen elements have done to its image is incalculable,” said a top IT company official preferring anonymity.
More damage was inflicted by the government’s refusal to do anything to stamp out the lumpen elements, as this shattered the confidence of not only the investors, companies but also people in general, most of whom are outsiders who make what Benguluru today is.
While chief minister S Siddaramaiah appealed for peace and calm, it was a belated get tough message to the police that begs the question: Why did the government not act to stop hooligans from destroying properties till last night.
If the damage to Bengaluru is thus huge, other than business losses, the situation from across the border too is not so different, only relatively lesser in scale. For TN government dealt with protestors a bit more sternly, but sure it did also allow some amount of protests to carry on, causing losses.
Protestors burn Karnataka CM’s effigy and held demonstrations outside Kannadiga owned places and at a kannadiga owned bakery . In Thanjavur a coffee shop owned by kannadiga was damaged by miscreants.
The retailers in Tamil Nadu have said that the retail, bus and truck transport industry in Tamil Nadu would have lost around Rs 2,000 crore due to the ongoing violence in Karnataka. The associations representing these retailers have called for state-wise closure of shops for one day on Friday to mark their protest.
The Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu (Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders’ Association) an apex traders’ body, has called for a day-long bandh to protest against the attacks on commercial establishments in Karnataka in the wake of the ongoing Cauvery crisis.
A M Vikramaraja, president,Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu (Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders’ Association) claimed that Tamil traders, lorry and bus operators have incurred around Rs 2,000 crore loss due to the protest by Kannada groups, targeting commercial establishments,besides attacking vehicles.
Commercial establishments owing allegiance to the Federation would down shutters on Friday, he said while appealing for the support of other trade bodies also.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP’s) Tamil Nadu unit is also planning to conduct a demonstration against the ruling Congress Government in Karnataka alleging that it has failed to protect Tamilians in Karnataka.
Activists also held protests outside hotels owned by natives of Karnataka in different places in Chennai and 10 people were arrested when they tried to enter the premises at Mylapore.
At Coimbatore, at least 30 activists were arrested after they were raising slogans against Karnataka and went to Karnataka Association hall in Tatabad.
At Neyveli, police foiled protestors’ bid to burn an effigy of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramiah and detained activists of the Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi.
Meanwhile, Coimbatore district Omnibus Owners Association has decided not to ply their vehicles to Karnataka for fear of attacks on the vehicles and crew.
It’s secretary P Senthilkumar told reporters after a meeting of the association that 12 buses had been severely damaged in the last two days. Considering the prevailing situation, it was decided not to ply buses to Karnataka till normalcy returned in that state, he added.
Factories which are operating at Hosur on the Tamil Nadu and Bengalaru border have not felt the heat so far. Manufacturing companies including Ashok Leyland and TVS Motor have said that operations in their factories are not affected.
IT companies in Chennai were working normally, unlike its branches in the IT capital of Bengalaru.