Academicians, writers condemn growing intolerance in letter to Karnataka CM

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai

Ahead of Republic Day, a group of senior writers, academicians, scientists and artists have written an open letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and all legislators expressing concern over the ‘deteriorating governance and the frequent violence against religious minorities’ in Karnataka.

The letter is signed by 34 individuals, including historians Ramachandra Guha and Prof. Janaki Nair; sociologists A. R. Vasavi and Prof. Satish Deshpande; scientists Prof. Sharadchandra Lele, Prof. Vinod Gaur and Prof. Vidyanand Nanjundiah; Kannada writers Vivek Shanbhag, Purushottam Bilimale and K. P. Suresha, and activist Bezwada Wilson.

“Over the past few months, the State has witnessed the brutal killing of youths in several districts, rampant hate speeches, public threats and disruptions of worship by religious minorities, honour killings, moral policing, misogynistic statements by legislators, and incidents of hostile and violent encounters between various religious groups. These trends have been encouraged by the callous and un-constitutional statements made by legislators and the inability of the State machinery to rein in fringe anti-social groups,” they wrote.

Such trends go against the long history of Karnataka as a progressive State that facilitated social harmony of a plural society. “Instead, the State is losing its identity on multiple fronts. On the fiscal, administrative, and political fronts, Karnataka is losing its federal strength. Recent legislations, such as the ‘cow protection’ and ‘anti-conversion’ Acts, are pogroms against the economic and cultural rights of religious minorities. No longer are harmony, peace, and tolerance the hallmarks of the state,” the letter says.

The signatories warned that if these issues are not addressed, even the State’s reputation as a business destination is bound to be impacted negatively ‘as all types of economic activity depend upon an atmosphere of social peace and harmony’.

Addressing the Chief Minister in particular and all legislators, the signatories call upon them to seriously review these negative trends in the State and to ensure that the rule of law, the principles of the Constitution, the rights of all citizens, and the basic norms of humaneness prevail. “It will be your abilities to address these challenges that will be the yardstick with which posterity will assess you,” they said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 10:50:18 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/academicians-writers-condemn-growing-intolerance-in-letter-to-karnataka-cm/article38323055.ece