The letter says that it is “alarming and distressing” that people in power are “openly violating the oath of upholding the spirit of the Constitution.”

Basavaraj Bommai
news Hate crimes Friday, June 24, 2022 - 16:03

Seventy-five eminent personalities in Karnataka have written an open letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai expressing deep anguish over the recent controversies in the state and the targeted attacks against the minorities, saying that such incidents have tarnished the image of the state. The signatories belong to different walks of life, ranging from civil servants, academicians, and writers to artists, like retired IFS officer Yellappa Reddy, former Karnataka Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar, historian Ramachandra Guha, author Shashi Deshpande and others.

“The recent spate of attacks of various kinds aimed at Muslim, Christian and Dalit communities has shocked and upset those who pride themselves on Karnataka’s receptive and inclusive nature,” the letter says, adding that since the signatories were not able to secure an appointment with the Chief Minister, they have issued an open letter to bring to his attention their concerns. The letter has called for proactive action by the government to send a clear message to the perpetrators of violence.

The letter says that it is “alarming and distressing” that people in power are “openly violating the oath of upholding the spirit of the Constitution of India by validating, supporting, and even promoting intimidation, vigilantism, violence, forcefully taking over properties, and socially and economically boycotting the minorities, rendering them as second-class citizens.”

“The current spate of divisive actions aimed at alienating particular communities and denying them their fundamental rights will not only hamper development but also hurt our state’s reputation, hinder progress and innovation, erode the confidence of entrepreneurs and investors, heighten insecurity, suspicion, fear, and resentment among citizens, and cause harm to all sections of society, while also threatening the integrity of our nation,” the letter says.

Noting the economic impact, the letter voices that state’s development depends on peace, harmony, and justice as even given by the Goal Number 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the first step towards achieving sustainable development is to restore security and human rights of individuals, whose basic freedom is under threat. “But the current divisive actions to alienate particular communities will hurt the state’s reputation and development by decreasing the confidence of entrepreneurs and investors and will raise fear among all citizens. “It is not possible to ‘Make in India’ in a climate where people are ‘Scared in India’ and even ‘Scarred in India’,” the letter says.

The letter urged the Chief Minister to take action to restore peace and well-being in Karnataka. The signatories have recommended that the state government take measures like directing the state police force to perform its constitutional duty by safeguarding the vulnerable citizens, providing victims of communal or casteist hate crimes full access to justice, and taking strong action against hate speech.

“The district administration, District Commissioner, and Superintendent of the Police should take appropriate action to maintain peace in the case of communal conflict,” the letter said, asking the police to take a stand against the false information spread about the minorities “which can make them subject to discrimination and violence”. The letter has also called upon sections of the media to stop openly promoting intolerance, hatred, and fake news.

“These proactive steps by the Government of Karnataka will ensure that a clear message is sent to those instigating and indulging in violence, and fomenting fear and insecurity among fellow citizens, that such unlawful, unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated and that hate crimes will be severely punished,” the letter concludes. 

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