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Coalition of rights groups to protest against Karnataka CM Bommai’s ‘endorsement’ of moral policing

Protests will be held at Raichur, Bijapur, Koppala and Bengaluru and a memorandum will be submitted to deputy commissioners in the districts on Thursday. In Bengaluru, the protests have been planned at the Mysuru Bank circle.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
October 21, 2021 10:37:57 am
During a visit to Mangalore last week Karnataka chief minister in a reply to a question on incidents of moral policing in the region had issued a statement of apparent endorsement of acts of moral policing by vigilante groups. (Express Photo)

A coalition of human rights organisations in Karnataka will hold protests across the state on Thursday demanding withdrawal of a statement made by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on October 13 in Mangalore allegedly in support of acts of moral policing carried out by radical groups in the state.

The coalition of groups involved in fighting for human rights and the rights of youth, women, Dalits, Muslims, Christians, LGBTQI across Karnataka `”have come together to protest against the politics of hate being spread by Hindutva organisations and the complete abdication of duty of the Chief Minister in upholding the Constitutional values and instead condoning such violence,” a representative of the coalition Maitreyi K said in a statement on Wednesday.

Protests will be held at Raichur, Bijapur, Koppala and Bengaluru and a memorandum will be submitted to deputy commissioners in the districts. In Bengaluru, the protests have been planned at the Mysuru Bank circle.

“We demand that the Chief Minister immediately withdraw his statement and apologise and take stringent action against violence in the name of religion and caste fueled by Hindutva organisations and uphold the principles of the Constitution,” the statement said.

During a visit to Mangalore last week Karnataka chief minister in a reply to a question on incidents of moral policing in the region had issued a statement of apparent endorsement of acts of moral policing by vigilante groups.

“When sentiments are hurt there will normally be action and reaction. The responsibility of the government apart from maintaining law and order is to preserve social harmony. Everyone must cooperate. Some youths need to ensure that the sentiments of their society are not hurt. This is a social issue and we need morality in society,” Bommai had stated.

The statement has been viewed as a violation of constitutional values and a legitimisation of acts of violence by individuals taking law into their own hands.

The Karnataka chief minister’s statement on moral policing “legitimises and encourages perpetrators of violence and makes the victims into offenders. He is violating the very Constitution that he took an oath to protect,” human rights groups have stated.

“Over the last year, we have been seeing an increase in violence in the name of religion and caste. Right-wing extremist organisations, including RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP, Sri Ram Sene are targeting all forms of interreligious and inter-caste relationships, friendships and interactions, by dragging people to the police station or even violently killing them for it,” reads a statement by the coalition of rights organisations.

“There is a concerted attack on Muslims, including murder as that of Arbaaz Mulla in Belgaum. Attacks on Dalits are on the rise, including murder as that of Shri Dhanappa at Koppal. Every week prayer meetings of Christians are disrupted by these groups. . Women are being attacked for exercising their right to choose,” says the statement.

“Karnataka has a long history of syncretic culture and is the land of Basavanna, Akkamahadevi, Santa Shishunala Sharief and Manteswamy. But now we are becoming the next killing fields of Muslims and Dalits. We, the people of Karnataka reject this agenda,” says the statement.

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