Bengaluru: Nearly three dozen eminent personalities have written a joint open letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai expressing their concern over the “frequent violence against religious minorities” in the state.
“We are a group of senior scientists, writers, academics, artists, and lawyers, and we write with concern about Karnataka’s deteriorating governance and the frequent violence against religious minorities,” read the letter.
The letter stated, “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.”
The letter further alleged that such trends go against the long history of Karnataka as a progressive state that facilitated social harmony of a plural society and initiated model welfare programs for all sections of the population.
“The state’s cultural history celebrates the plurality of cultures and religious tolerance and our icons have long been Basavanna, Akkamahadevi, Kanakadasa, Purandaradasa, and Shishunala Sharifa. Our litterateurs, ranging from Bendre to Kuvempu, have celebrated a Karnatakatva that is based on multi-cultural identities that blend together to make a harmonious and rich social fabric, ” the letter said.
It added, “We note with both sadness and alarm that these traditions of tolerance and shared well-being are being torn asunder. Instead, the state is losing its identity on multiple fronts. On the fiscal, administrative, and political fronts Karnataka is losing its federal strength.”
“We call upon you all 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,” the letter said.
On this special day, as India marks its national status as a ‘Republic’ and as a state within this federal republic, the personalities expressed hope that the government will initiate a period of social harmony, just legislations, and democratic functioning of the state machinery.
Eminent personalities include Professor Vinod Gaur, who was the former Secretary at the Department of Science and Technology; Major General SG Vombatkere, VSM, retired among others.