Tamils - a Nation without a State
an estimated 2.8 million Tamils live in Karnataka
Karnataka bans Tamil TV Channels
after Verdict on sharing Cauvery Waters
[see also Cauvery River Water Dispute and Karnataka Massacres
- Thanjai Nalankilli, 1998,
Part 1, and
Part 2 ]
Impasse over Tamil Channels continues in Bangalore
26 February 2007
BANGALORE: The impasse over the airing of
Tamil channels continues here, the capital of the southern state of Karnataka,
with seemingly no end in sight since the Kannada organizations are strongly
against broadcast of the same.
MSOs had stopped telecast of Tamil channels after the verdict on
sharing of Cauvery river waters that Karnataka finds unfavorable for it.
A source in the Karnataka State Cable TV Operators Association reveals that MSOs
and cable operators are in favor of restarting airing Tamil Channels, but are
facing stiff resistance from Kannada activists. "We fully support the people
of Karnataka on this issue, as do the Tamil people based here in Karnataka.
Entertainment should be kept away from issues that are politicized. Have Tamil
channels on DTH been stopped? Have flights or trains between Tamil Nadu been
stopped?" pleads a cable operator. "Cable is reachable and hence threatened,"
The Tamil basket in Karnataka consists of around
eight or nine channels, depending upon the MSO, area and the cable operator,
from a possible bouquet of 11-12 channels. Of these, the Sun Group has five, Raj
TV three, Jaya TV two, along with one each from DD and Vijay.
Currently 2-3 channels are being aired in Bangalore. Sun's KTV and
Star's Vijay were available in some areas while some had DD's Tamil channel and
other areas had Sun being aired since today, and yesterday. One Sun Tamil
channel was switched on in monochrome in some areas....
The sharing of the Cauvery waters issue has plagued the southern states,
with the major protagonists' being Karnataka and Tamil Nadu since the past
few decades. The interim water sharing verdict in December 1991 saw riots
break out in Bangalore and the state, with loss of life and property. Even
the 5 February verdict saw protests and a 'bandh' recently.
Karnataka government has yet to file an appeal against the 5 February
verdict - they have 90 days to do so.
Meanwhile, the people of
Bangalore, a significant percentage of whom are non-Kannadigas, with Tamils
forming a big chunk, are impatient and want entertainment to be kept away
from these kinds of issues and enjoy their TV fare.
Blackout continues, Karnataka cable ops plan
17 February 2007
BANGALORE: The blackout of Tamil
channels by the cable TV trade in Karnataka continues following the Cauvery
At the time of writing, a section of the cable operators was
planning to voice their grievance to the authorities. The Karnataka State Cable
Operators Association had planned a rally from Anil Kumble circle on MG road to
the Governor’s residence on 20 February to hand over a memorandum against the
verdict with the expectation of support from all the bodies involved in the
cable TV distribution chain, including MSOs. A cable operator said that he
expected participation from cable ops from the surrounding rural areas of
Bangalore and from the interiors of Karnataka.
Sources from the
various associations representing cable operators and broadband service
providers say that the black out of the Tamil cable channels was a voluntary
decision, later reinforced by ‘requests from Kannada activists’ groups.
A faction of the cable TV trade said that they were willing to
restart the broadcast of Tamil channels saying that “it is the verdict that we
are against, not the language, and we have given the longest support to the
agitation against the verdict, but now we are willing to restart the Tamil
Certain sources reveal that the trade is apparently becoming
nervous about any backlash from vested parties and is considering asking for
police protection should they go for the latter option. A meeting is expected to
be held on 19 or 20 February to decide on the course of action.
The Cauvery Tribunal verdict has already had its first victim in the
form of union minister of state for information and broadcasting M H Ambareesh
who put in his resignation from both the union ministry as well as Parliament in
protest against it.
Fear driving many Tamil workers out of Bangalore
Memories of the 1991 violence still haunt
Bageshree S. and M.V. Chandrashekar
Bangalore: On a normal day it is hard to pick one's way through the
Old Tharagupet area, which is a busy centre for wholesale trade in oil, grains,
vegetables and other commodities. But the pace of work is now sluggish here and
in areas around it, including New Tharagupet, City Market, Kalasipalyam Market,
Sultanpet and Chickpet. Loaded lorries remain parked, with no workers to unload
the goods. Pushcart vendors, old-paper sellers and roadside clothes sellers are
also fewer in number.
This is because a significant number of Tamil daily wage workers
from Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Thiruvannamalai and Hosur who work here have left
Bangalore fearing violence after the announcement of the final order by the
Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
Unlike what happened following the 1991 Cauvery interim order,
Tamils have not been targeted after the verdict this time. In fact, there have
been repeated assurances from the police and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy
that Tamils will be given adequate protection. But memories of the 1991 violence
and fears about a recurrence still haunt unorganised sector workers who are the
primary targets in any outbreak of violence.
This fear has seriously hit the construction industry
too, where a large number of Tamils are employed. Mathew Mammen,
executive director of Sobha Developers, says that the presence of
Tamil workers has come down by 30 to 40 per cent in construction
sites in Bangalore. Apart from those who do masonry work, some
engineers and supervisors too have gone back to Tamil Nadu on leave,
he says. Work on some construction sites has come to a standstill.
"There has been no violence, but there is a lot of uncertainty. This
is definitely hitting the industry hard," says Mr. Mammen.
Sheshadri C.S. of Mane Vinyas says he has had to bring work to a
halt in half of the ongoing projects. "I fear more people will leave
on Sunday," he adds. In fact, Muthu from Thiruvannamalai, a
headload worker at City Market, told The Hindu that he plans to
leave for his hometown on Sunday and return "only after the
situation is completely normal."
N.P. Swamy, president of the Karnataka State Construction Workers
Central Union, says that more than resident Tamil labourers who have
settled down and have their families here, it is the migrant
labourers brought in by contractors for road laying, masonry and
other work who are returning to Tamil Nadu. "But it is not
comparable to the exodus of 1991," he adds.
His organisation has been holding community meetings in slum areas
across Bangalore to give confidence to workers that they will not be
harmed. "We should also note that land is today the most precious
commodity, and the land mafia would want to drive people out of
their homes to grab these those pieces of land," he says.