Communalism in the coastal Karnataka district of Dakshina Kannada has transformed into a guerilla warfare between communities, B Ramanath Rai, minister in charge of the district in the Congress government, told an all party peace meeting on Thursday. The meeting was called to ease tension prevailing in Bantwal region of the district following the murder of two youths on June 21.
The peace meeting called by the district authorities was boycotted by main opposition party BJP on the grounds that its affiliates from the Sangh Parivar, like the Bajrang Dal and the VHP, were not invited.
“The BJP’s decision to boycott the all party meeting is a sign that they are not interested in restoration of peace, but are focused on political gains from the disturbances,’’ Rai said at the meeting.
Religion has today become a bigger intoxicant in the region than opium, Rai said. He also called on the district police to view incidents of communal violence as organised crime and to get to the root of conspiracies.
“We would like to request the BJP to allow the district a breather of a month to recover from the present spate of incidents before launching a political agitation. Let them start a campaign nearer to the elections,’’ Congress MLA from Ullal and Minister for Food and Civil Supplies U T Khader said.
Congress MLAs from the region said at the meeting that they would not respond to “provocations” from the BJP.