Motorists dropped no plates to escape Cauvery violence

Motorists with vehicles registered in Karnataka took off their number plates while driving through or entering Tamil Nadu during the Cauvery riots, a Bengaluru resident said on Thursday.

A company executive based here was caught up in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu during the violence in both states and spent a night in a hotel in the city to escape mobs targeting vehicles with Karnataka (KA) number plates.

Widespread violence had broken out in the capital and southern Karnataka on Monday over the apex court order to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, with angry Kannadiga protesters torching over 30 buses of a Tamil-owned bus depot in Bengaluru.

A few hundred protesters entered the bus depot and reportedly manhandled the drivers and other employees there.

Hotel staff in Coimbatore had advised the executive to park his vehicle underground to escape notice. 

“As I finally left Coimbatore for Bengaluru, I was stopped by Tamil Nadu police personnel who warned that they could not guarantee safety to my car because of the Karnataka number plate,” the executive said.

“I kept driving… As I reached Salem, another group of Tamil Nadu policemen told me to remove the KA number plate. I did that, only to find that numerous vehicles were plying similarly without number plates. 

“Clearly, all of them were from Karnataka, either on their way out of or had just entered Tamil Nadu, and had been given the same instruction,” the executive said.

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