People of all age groups came together at Mysore Bank Circle in Bengaluru on Thursday and raised their voice against the rising communal violence in Karnataka. Over 100 protesters of all walks of life condemned the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s comments on moral policing and demanded to withdraw his statement and act swiftly against people involved in such cases.
Members of various organisations like All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), All India Students Association (AISA), Association of Protection of Civil Rights, activists, human rights workers, and students from various colleges took part in the agitation.
During his visit to Mangaluru on October 13, answering a question on moral policing, Bommai had remarked “action and reaction are natural”, which appeared to justify such incidents.
“This is a sensitive issue. We all have responsibility in a 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 had said.
The CM’s statement has not gone down well with many groups and since then activists are demanding Bommai to retract his statement.
Protesters raised slogans against the Chief Minister and accused him of polarising society.
Speaking with News9 at the Mysore Bank Circle, activist Brinda Adige said communal violence incidents are increasing as elections are getting closer.
“The chief minister’s loyalty should be to the Constitution and not for fringe elements. He cannot make irresponsible statements of action and reaction. Instead of upholding constitutionally guaranteed rights, he is making statements that are not acceptable. We are outraged and angry. Incidents of moral policing are increasing due to politicians and the agencies. Fringe groups do not fear the law because they know they will get away with it with the help of politicians.”
AICCTU leader Papanna agreed with Adige and said the Chief Minister is trying to turn Karnataka into another Uttar Pradesh.
“We will not allow the chief minister to turn Karnataka into Uttar Pradesh. He has been elected by the people of Karnataka and not just a few fringe groups that are disturbing the harmony in our society. They (BJP) are trying to divide the society in the name of religion which we will not allow.”
Madhumita SV, a law student, who joined the protest along with her friends, said wanted to raise her voice for her rights.
“The incidents of communal violence are not only increasing in Karnataka, but also in other parts of India. The aggression against religion has suddenly increased. We are being denied the rights that our Constitution guarantees. We are here to fight for our rights and send a message to all the politicians to follow our Constitution.”
The protest comes at a time when several communal violence incidents are on the rise in the last few months in the state.
Districts like Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Belagavi are witnessing a large number of moral policing incidents. Last month, a Muslim man was killed in Belagavi for being in a relationship with a Hindu girl. The coastal districts – Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, have witnessed around 30 cases of moral policing this year alone.