Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are locked in a conflict in sharing Cauvery river water. A tribunal was set up in 1990 which gave an interim award in 1991. This resulted in anti-Tamil riots in Bangalore, some people were killed and several driven homeless.
The tribunal has come up with its final verdict this month (5th February 2007). Unlike in 1991, there have not been any riots or murders. But there is still a lingering problem where Tamil television channels have been off air since the announcement of the verdict.
India Television News
I consider this a very disturbing news. India has moved forward substantially from the tribal mindset in the pre-1990 era. Economic growth (though quite lopsided), has brought considerable plurality and appreciation for opposing viewpoints and cultural sensibilities.
Problems between states in a federal set up should not result in linguistic minorities being tortured in one way or the other. A band of Kannada extremists are holding cable TV companies to ransom and are enforcing this 'ban', and an elected government is unable to revoke the ban in a liberal democratic country.
Karnataka people have every reason to be angry at the tribunal's verdict and they should take up all legal measures to push their case ahead. But if the state, intelligentsia and Kannada speaking people allow the Kannada extremist organization to dictate terms on how to treat the linguistic minorities in their state, Karnataka state will remain in dark ages forever.