Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai stoked a controversy on Wednesday with his comments which appeared to justify incidents of moral policing carried out by vigilante groups in the state.
Bommai, who was in Mangaluru on October 13, 2021, while speaking to the media on increasing incidents of moral policing, seemed to justify the acts of fringe groups who take law in their hands and impinge on the privacy of people to prevent interfaith relationships in the name of love jihad.
“This is a sensitive issue. We all have a responsibility in society. There are multiple sentiments in society and people will need to function in a manner that does not hurt sentiments. 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. We cannot live without morality. When there is no morality there will be action and reaction,” Bommai said.
Questioning Bommai’s stand on the issue, opposition leader Siddarmaiah in a series of tweets asked the CM to ‘resign and save Karnataka’.
Reacting sharply to Siddaramaiah’s tweet, Bommai said Siddaramaiah was the icon of anti-Hindus.
Siddaramaiah hit back at Bommai and threatened to file a defamation case for making baseless allegations.
Bommai’s clarification did not satisfy people, especially the activists. In a joint statement, several advocates, retired judges, and activists have condemned the CM’s statement.
“Your statement that social morality is to be protected is not an innocent message. It sends out a dangerous message that as far as you are concerned, it is okay to use violence to enforce what some people see as morality,” the joint statement read.
But what was evident from the Twitter spat was that CM Bommai was not going to let criticism about RSS fly when he’s around. Siddaramaiah mentioned the RSS in a couple of tweets. The former CM said, “Appeasing RSS may be necessary to save your position, but you should not stoop to this low, Mr Bommai.”
In another tweet, Siddaramaiah asked, “Do you have any plans to dissolve the police department, and handover the law & order to RSS?”
And as has been witnessed in the Monsoon Assembly session, Bommai responded by praising the sangh parivar. “RSS is a tallest Nation building Org, which treats every citizen equally unlike ur selective appeasement for votes,during calamities RSS works leading from the front, My Govt & my party works as per the constitution of India & not as per the extra constitutional bodies like NAC,” he said on Twitter.
One should also note that this is not the first spat between Bommai and Siddaramaiah over RSS. “Nation, nationalism and RSS are all the same. NEP helps our children become ready for the 21st century and yes, it is an RSS education policy. We accept it,” the Chief minister had said on the floor of the house back in September when the Congress leader referred to NEP as “Nagpur Education Policy”.