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Last Updated: Friday, 14 April 2006, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Companies hit by Rajkumar riots
Bus set ablaze in Bangalore
Irate fans set several buses on fire
Riots in the Indian city of Bangalore following the death of leading film star Rajkumar cost businesses there millions of dollars, officials say.

Eight people, including a policeman, were killed in violence on Thursday as tens of thousands of mourners attended the funeral of the screen legend.

Unrest forced more than 1,000 IT firms and other businesses to shut before calm returned on Friday, reports say.

Bangalore is India's leading hub for its burgeoning IT industry.

Software firms alone lost about $40m because they had to shut, according to TV Mohandas Pai, chief financial officer at India's leading IT firm, Infosys.

People who are going against all that Rajkumar stood for cannot be called his fans
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy

Infosys itself had lost some $4m, he told Reuters news agency.

Irate fans threw stones at police and set dozens of vehicles, including 20 belonging to the police, on fire. More than 50 other vehicles were damaged in two days of violence.

On Friday, city police chief BS Sial said the damage to property was estimated initially at more than 50m rupees ($1.1m).

'Criminals'

The offices of US IT giant Microsoft were stoned and several other leading companies, including Dell, IBM and Wipro were closed by the riots.

Rajkumar funeral procession
Tens of thousands of mourners turned out for the funeral

"Most companies are forced to close. Nobody wants to take a chance," one unnamed official at an international firm told Reuters.

Several call centres serving companies in the UK and the US were also shut, affecting many customers, reports say.

Seven people were killed after police opened fire on crowds in a number of separate incidents on Thursday.

The policeman died of injuries after being beaten by a mob. More than 100 others were injured, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said on Friday.

He condemned the violence, saying that it had been carried out by criminals.

"People who are going against all that Rajkumar stood for cannot be called his fans," he said.

'Elder brother'

Rajkumar - whose name was sometimes written Raj Kumar - died of a heart attack on Wednesday aged 77.

He starred in such films as Bangaradha Manushya (The Golden Man) and Shabdavedi.

Although he had given up acting in recent years, he remained one of India's best-loved figures with many of his fans calling him 'Annavaru' (elder brother).

In July 2000, he was kidnapped along with three members of his family from his home in Gajanur, Tamil Nadu, by notorious Indian bandit Veerappan.

His kidnapping sparked violent protests in his home state of Karnataka with people demanding his immediate release. Rajkumar was freed by Veerappan after spending weeks living in the forests of southern India.

Local reports said a large ransom had been paid for his release, although Rajkumar denied that.

Veerappan, a self-styled champion of the Tamil people, was killed by police in 2004.


SEE ALSO:
Indian actor Rajkumar dies at 77
12 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Indian bandit 'was paid ransom'
22 Nov 02 |  South Asia
Rajkumar 'could be free soon'
29 Sep 00 |  South Asia


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