Blaming the silence of the BJP Government as being responsible for the flaring up of communal issues in Karnataka, the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday served an ultimatum of one month for the Government to put an end to such a negative trend. Failing which, he warned that, the JD(S) would take up a serious campaign against the Government.
Speaking to reporters after leading a protest at Freedom Park here by the party against the soaring prices of essential commodities as well as petrol, diesel, and cooking gas, Mr. Kumaraswamy expressed concern over fringe right-wing elements using social media to spoil communal harmony.
Expressing dissatisfaction over a call given by a right-wing organisation leader to Hindus to desist from hiring Muslim drivers for their pilgrimage to Hindu religious centres, Mr. Kumaraswamy said such a call would affect transport system itself.
“The clever silence of the Government is responsible for all such issues. Such communal issues would not have come up if the Government had booked cases against such people and arrested them by this time,” he maintained and wondered, “Otherwise, what is the purpose of existence for the Government?”
Addressing party workers on the occasion, he said the communal issues were being raised in the State intentionally by the BJP and right-wing groups to divert public attention from the anger against the steep increase in the prices of essential commodities as well as petroleum products.
Taking the right-wing organisations, including the RSS, head-on, Mr. Kumaraswamy challenged them to raise their voice against price raise instead of creating communal divide by harping on issues such as hijab and halal.
He said the Government, which had prevented the party from taking out a padayatra against price rise, had, however, allowed shoba yatre (religious procession) by right-wing organisations.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who has maintained silence on the inconvenience caused to people due to price rise, was supporting communal conflict in the State, he alleged. Pointing out that the BJP had ridiculed the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his silence, he asked, “Should we now treat Mr. Bommai in similar way?”