A three-day Babasaheb B.R. Ambedkar international conference on social justice will be held in Bengaluru from July 21 to 23, an official statement said on Saturday.
"The conference will unveil the 'Bengaluru Declaration' outlining specific constitutional, institutional and policy responses to concerns of equity, human rights, freedom and democracy," said the statement said.
Organised by the Karnataka government, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, human rights advocate and activist Martin Luther King III, and 83 international, 149 national and 80 state-level speakers including academics, activists and policy-makers will address about 2,000 participants at the conference.
"The conference on 'Reclaiming Social Justice, Revisiting Ambedkar' is a coming together of progressive forces committed to safeguarding the constitutional idea of India," noted the statement.
Although India has grown by leaps over the last 70 years, a lot more needs to be done, it said, adding that the conference will address the needs and aspirations of all Indians.
"The conference is being held when regressive forces have been attacking the idea of India. They are doing by dismantling institutions and destroying the pluralistic fabric of the nation," said state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at a preview of the international meet.
Noting that the federal state was compromising the well-being of certain sections of society and promoting selective development, the Chief Minister said the political dispensation was being misused to further its ideological agenda, chipping away the edifice of equity, liberty, equality and fraternity.
"As a result, hatred and violence on Dalits, Adivasis and minorities have risen exponentially during the last three years. The marginalised and vulnerable are denied access and opportunities to a better life, posing threat to inclusive conception of polity and citizenship," lamented Siddaramaiah.
Calling for a re-think on the social, political and economic paradigms to transform the spirit of politics, the Chief Minister said the stakehlolders should study why and how marginalised groups were being discriminated against or excluded.
"The conference will strive to resolve all these concerns. We will form an 'alliance of equity' to lay the foundation of a new India for a new time," added Siddaramaiah.
As the conference also commemorates the 126th birth anniversary of the architecht of the Indian Constitution, life and works of Ambedkar will be deliberated upon as they are still relevant to the social, political and economic justice across the country and the world over, said the statement.
Among the 80 overseas speakers will be Cornel West, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, James Manor, Thomas Weisskopf, Upendra Baxi, Laurence Simon, Samuel Myers and Ashutosh Varshney.
About 140 speakers from across the country include Sukhadeo Thorat, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shiv Vishvanathan, Shashi Tharoor, K. Raju, Salman Khurshid, Prakash Ambedkar, Rajeev Gowda, Anand Teltumbde, Wilson Bezwada, Aakash Rathore, Valerian Rodrigues, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Neera Chandoke, Satish Deshpande and Prabhat Patnaik will address the gathering.
About 80 speakers from Karnataka will address the participants. They include Devanuru Mahadeva, G.K. Govinda Rao, Siddalingaiah, K. Maralusiddappa, H.G. Siddaramaiah, Rajendra Chenni, Ravivarma Kumar, Chadrashekar Kambara, K.B.Siddaiah, Mallika Ghanti, Gowri Lankesh, Rahamath Terekere, Justice Nagamohan Das, Mogahalli Ganesh and B.T. Lalitha Naik.