Bangalore: A general strike prompted by a long-running water dispute closed software firms and schools and triggered the postponement of an international women’s tennis tournament on Monday. The 12-hour stoppage came a week after a federal tribunal ruled the state would get less water from the Cauvery river than neighbouring Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery has been a bone of contention and a hugely emotive issue in the region for nearly a century.
In 1991, an interim court order for Karnataka to release 205 billion cubic feet of water to Tamil Nadu sparked riots against minority Tamils in Bangalore, leaving 18 people dead. The shutdown will have cost the state’s industry around Rs1,012 crore. On Monday, police officers patrolled the city, where traffic was sparse, and manned barricades that were set up in areas where minority Tamils live. Bangalore’s WTA tournament, which was scheduled to begin on Monday, was postponed until Tuesday after the organizers said they would respect the strike. The political activists, who had called the strike, said it was a show of strength against the tribunal’s “unjust and unfair” decision this month.