Bahutva Karnataka, a forum for justice, harmony and solidarity, held a press conference on August 2, regarding the murders of three youths in Dakshina Kannada. The forum held the Basavaraj Bommai government and his council of ministers responsible for the current state of affairs in Karnataka. They demanded an apology from Chief Minister Bommai for his comment on ‘UP Model,’ and action against Information and Technology Minister CN Ashwath Narayan for advocating encounters or extra judicial killings by the police.
Soon after the murder of Praveen Nettaru, a Yuva Morcha member on July 26, the CM said, "For the situation in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi is the right Chief Minister. Similarly, there are different methods to deal with the situation in Karnataka and all of them are being used. If the situation demands, the Yogi model government will come to Karnataka too." BT Venkatesh, senior advocate, said that there was absolutely no need for a ‘UP Model’. “Why should we implement the UP Model? Are we in UP? Karnataka has always been known as one of the most progressive states in India and people from all over the country come here in hopes of better opportunities. Problems that are plaguing Karnataka today can be solved by simple law and order reinforcements,” he added.
Among other demands, the forum also asked for a visit by the CM and compensation to the families of Fazil, Masood, Sameer. Till now, the Chief Minister has only visited Praveen’s family and has not visited the families of Masood who was killed on July 21 in Kalenje village of Dakshina Kannada and Fazil who was killed on July 28 at Surathkal. The CM had also handed over a cheque of Rs 25 lakh from the CM relief fund to Praveen’s family. Sameer was a 19-year-old Muslim youth murdered in Nargund on January 16, 2022. Four men including a Bajrang Dal leader were arrested for his murder by the Gadag police.
The forum alleged that the murders of Masood, Praveen Nettaru and Fazil are not isolated incidents but a result of the hatred fuelled and justified by the Bommai government. The collapse of the rule of law has a direct impact on the future of the youth of the state. Statements made by the CM on bringing about a ‘UP Model’ and by Minister of Higher Education, Ashwath Narayan, on the need for police encounters are a direct insult to the police, judiciary and the Constitution of India, the panellists further said.
Mainly, the speakers discussed how police inaction, discriminatory attitude of officials, lack of education and employment opportunities for the youth has resulted in the rise of crime in Karnataka over the last few years. The panel demanded a strict implementation of judgements such as Tehseen Poonawalla vs Union of India and Guidelines on Communal Harmony (2008).
Sharanya from Slum Mahila Sanghatane and Mohammad Nasir who is the state secretary of Students Islamic Organisation reiterated the need for good education and employment opportunities for children and youth in order to maintain a progressive and peaceful state. The panel further called for an immediate resignation of the Chief Minister if he fails to act on any of their demands.
The press meet aimed at highlighting concerns and raising demands for a safe, dignified and secure Karnataka for all. Senior lawyers B T Venkatesh and Mohammad Niyaz who is also the state secretary for Association for Protection of Civil Rights, Maitreyi K from Bahutva Karnataka, Mohammed Nasir, State Secretary of Students Islamic Organisation, Sharanya from Slum Mahila Sanghatane and Aratrike De from All India Students Association addressed the media.