2006: Riots after actor Rajkumar's death
Actor Rajkumar is one of the Karnataka's most beloved and most popular actors. From 1953 to 2000, Rajkumar acted in over 206 films, but never in a non-Kannada film, even though he got plenty of offers. His staunch support for Kannada culture, and his many films in which he either played historical Kannada kings or displayed aggressive love for Karnataka, made him both an icon for the state and nearly universally popular.
He died on Aril 12, 2006.
What followed was sometimes described by official sources as "a spontaneous outburst of sorrow". It was in reality a massive riot by people claiming to be Rajkumar's fans, but who seemed not at all interested in mourning him and more interested in rioting.
All shops and businesses in Bangalore were forcibly closed, and huge mobs roamed the streets burning every vehicle they could find and stoning everything in sight. Some 1000 vehicles would eventually be torched. Reporters were attacked, and at least four petrol bunks were burned down, along with four cinema halls. Eight people were killed, including one police constable - Manjunath Malladi, who was lynched by a mob.
Rajkumar's body was kept in the Kanteerva Stadium for public viewing. People rioted when they could not get in, and once the body was moved to Kanteerava Film Studios for the last rites, people rioted when hundreds of thousands of them could not enter the small enclave.
The entire event - ideally a period of mourning for a beloved icon, turned into a nightmare.
Later, much blame would fall upon the city police, who made no arrangements and simply announced the death to the public before any preparations were in place.
Image: A still from 'Operation Diamond Racket'(1978), starring Rajkumar
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