US embassy cable - 06CHENNAI724

VIOLENCE IN BANGALORE FOLLOWS FILM STAR'S DEATH

Identifier: 06CHENNAI724
Wikileaks: View 06CHENNAI724 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Chennai
Created: 2006-04-17 10:58:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PGOV PINR IN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO4950
RR RUEHBI RUEHCI
DE RUEHCG #0724/01 1071058
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171058Z APR 06
FM AMCONSUL CHENNAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7983
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1583
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 4725
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA 0472
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CHENNAI 000724 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, IN 
SUBJECT: VIOLENCE IN BANGALORE FOLLOWS FILM STAR'S DEATH 
 
 
1. (U) SUMMARY: Street violence rocked Bangalore on April 
12 and 13, following the death of Kannada language film 
superstar Rajkumar.  Widespread street riots left eight 
persons dead and more than 150 injured.  The city's famed 
information technology industry was forced to shut down 
operations and now fears a loss of customer confidence. 
END SUMMARY 
 
----------------------------- 
ACTOR'S DEATH SPARKS VIOLENCE 
----------------------------- 
 
2. (U) Kannada movie star Rajkumar, aged 77, died at 1:50 
PM on April 12, 2006 following a cardiac arrest.  The 
actor, who had appeared in over 200 Kannada movies and 
was known as a champion of the Kannada language, had a 
fan following drawn mostly from Bangalore's underclass. 
As news of Rajkumar's death spread, his emotional fans 
hit the streets, forcing shops and business 
establishments to draw their shutters.  As the afternoon 
progressed, the mourners became more emotional and began 
stoning state-owned Bangalore Municipal Transport 
Corporation buses as well as private cars and some shops 
and office buildings.  City police adopted a low profile 
which encouraged the violence that left scores injured. 
The state government closed schools and announced a two 
day mourning period.  Bangalore's famed information 
technology industry shut down operations early on April 
12 and declared April 13, 2006 a holiday. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
FUNERAL PROCESSION LEAVES DESTRUCTION IN ITS WAKE 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
3. (SBU) Violence continued following the actor's funeral 
procession on April 13 as fans attempted to get close to 
the cortege.  Unlike on the previous day, police reacted 
aggressively.  "We opened fire on 12 occasions," Mr. 
Subash Bharani, Additional Director General of Police Law 
and Order, told Post.  A total of eight persons including 
a training constable died in the violence and 47 police 
officers received injuries that required hospitalization. 
In addition, 10 police vehicles were destroyed.  Bharani 
estimated that beyond the injured police officers, 120 
members of the general public sustained injuries. 
 
-------------------------------- 
VIOLENCE DENTS BANGALORE'S IMAGE 
-------------------------------- 
 
4. (U) The overall cost to Bangalore of the violence is 
estimated at $160 million, according to newspaper 
reports.  None of Bangalore's information technology 
companies reported any physical damage but all were 
forced to shut down their operations during the violence. 
Infosys CFO T.V. Mohandas Pai estimated that the city's 
software firms lost $40 million in revenues during the 
shutdown as well as some of the luster from their image. 
"Bangalore's image took a beating," Mr. Ashok Soota, CEO, 
MindTree Consulting and former President of the 
Confederation of Indian Industry told Post.  He believes 
that customers may begin asking companies to have backup 
establishments in other locations, a requirement that 
would hurt profitability. 
 
---------------------------------- 
NEW CHIEF MINISTER WAS SLOW TO ACT 
---------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) New Karnataka Chief Minister Kumarasamy's 
administration, caught on the wrong foot by the violence, 
responded belatedly to the crisis and appears not to have 
communicated effectively with the police leaders.  "There 
clearly was a breakdown in communication between the 
police and the political executive," R.V. Deshpande, 
Congress leader and former state Industries Minister, 
told Post. 
 
----------------------------- 
IMPACT ON BANGALORE"S FUTURE? 
----------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) COMMENT: Already beset by infrastructure growing 
pains which are causing some companies to think twice 
about expansion in the city, Bangalore now faces another 
blow to its image.  How the state government and industry 
leaders react will be important determiners of 
Bangalore's future as India's information technology 
capital.  END COMMENT 
 
CHENNAI 00000724  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
CANDADAI 

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