KARNATAKA

Deve Gowda concerned about rise of communalism

BIDAR, OCT. 7. The former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, has expressed concern over the uncontrolled rise of communal and divisive forces in the country.

Addressing a rally in Aurad today, Mr. Gowda said that there very few people in the country who objected to the efforts of the communal forces to create divisions among the people of different faiths or communities. Mr. Gowda expressed regret over the way the Gujarat riots were handled by the National Democratic Alliance Government.

In Gujarat, no one was punished for the killing of over 3,000 people from minority communities, the destruction of over 200 churches, and uprooting over one lakh Muslims and Christians. "The authorities did not allow me to meet people in rehabilitation centres when I went to Gujarat, and supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) threw stones at me when I tried to talk to the families who had suffered atrocities at the hands of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar," Mr. Gowda said.

"The Union Government implements schemes that provide loans to the rich at seven per cent interest while farmers are forced to take loans at interest rates higher than 16 per cent," he said.

He said that if the Janata Dal (S) had got a comfortable majority in the Assembly, it would have implemented more pro-farmer schemes. He asked the people to vote for the Janata Dal (S) candidate, Babu Honna Nayak, in the Bidar bypoll.. "As of now, we are allowed to speak for only three minutes as there are only three Janata Dal (S) members in Parliament. We want to increase this and make our presence felt," he added.

The president of the State unit, N. Thippanna, and senior leaders M.P. Prakash, P.G.R Sindhia, H.C. Mahadevappa, Baburao Gudage, and Gundappa Vakil were present.