Mysore: On many occasions in the past, innocent Kannadigas living in Tamil Nadu and Tamilians in Karnataka have been victimised and dragged into issues which are irrelevant to them. The same was feared when AIADMK supremo and former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa was convicted and sentenced in a disproportionate assets case by a special court set up in the state.
However this time, Tamilians and Kannadigas have refused to cross swords and are passing messages of peace and brotherhood.
Sending positive signals, the Karnataka Tamil Federation, Karnataka Associations in Coimbatore and Ayanavaram in Chennai have asked people, especially those in border areas, to remain calm and not heed to rumours.
Batting for the safety of Kannada-speaking people in Tamil Nadu, Mr Jagadeshan, vice-president of the Karnataka Tamil Federation, said some elements did try to stoke violence. “An expelled AIADMK functionary erected huge posters threatening to hold Kannadigas in TN hostage if Jayalalithaa was not released. But, the TN police promptly acted upon it and removed the posters and even the AIADMK distanced itself from the issue, saying it was done without the party’s consent”.
Mr Jagadeeshan said 65,000 Tamilians live in Chamarajanagar district, which is close to the Tamil Nadu border, and over 80 lakh people in all of Karnataka.
“We make a living here and our hearts and souls are in Karnataka. Even during Cauvery dispute, our federation pledged support to Karnataka,” he said, clarifying that they were not interested in whether Ms Jayalalithaa was jailed or given bail.
Mr B. Santhosh Rao, a retired director of Bureau of Indian Standards and president of the Karnataka Association in Coimbatore, told this newspaper that there was nothing to worry. “Yes, we were initially worried fearing violent protests, but nothing untoward happened.
The TN police offered us full cooperation. There are lakhs of Kannadigas in Tamil Nadu and in Coimbatore, we are a big business community involved in gold and hotel business.
Except for an attack on a Udupi hotel in MGR Nagar in Chennai, the police and government here have managed to keep Kannadigas out of the harm’s way.”...