Action Alert – Communal harmony activists arrested in Karnataka

Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike

Friends,

Most of you are aware of the Sangh Parivar’s attempts to destroy the secular fabric in Karnataka by targeting the Baba-Datta shrine on Bababudangiri near Chikmagalur, a shrine that is an example of syncretic traditions in the state, attracting people of different faiths. You are also aware of the role of this present coalition government in supporting and promoting these activities of the Sangh Parivar. Now the government has given permission to the Sangh Parivar to conduct the Shobha Yatra and about 300 activists of the Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike who reached Chikmagalur to protest this have been arrested on 2nd Dec 2006.

The Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike, which is a coalition of over 200 organizations working since 2002 to establish communal harmony and to fight against the agenda of communalism in Karnataka, has through the years exposed the Sangh Parivar’s farcical claims about the shrine, thwarted their intentions and successfully countered their agenda through its ideology of aggressive secularism.

The Sangh Parivar has been targeting the shrine on Bababudangiri with the sole intention of destroying this tradition in the name of 'liberating' the shrine from Muslims. In order to achieve their narrow sectarian goal, they have been creating unwanted disputes, putting up historically untenable and legally unsubstantial arguments. Further, they have introduced previously non-existent religious practices like Datta-Mala Abhiyan, Shobha Yatra and Datta Jayanthi celebrations every year in the months of October, November and December. It is obvious that their main purpose is neither religion nor faith but to target the Muslim community as ‘outsiders’ who are bent on destroying the ‘Hindu’ tradition and culture.

This year, the BJP has aligned with the Janata Dal (S) to form a coalition government which has thus far supported the communal agenda of the Sangh Parivar. Clear evidence of this was visible in the first week of October during the communal violence in and around Mangalore and in Bababudangiri at the time of the Datta Mala Abhiyan. In Bababudangiri,the local BJP MLA, C.T. Ravi led the Sangh Parivar activists in performing rites in the shrine – in clear violation of the High Court's order.

By contrast activists of the Komu Souharda Vedike were arrested and prevented from peacefully protesting and exposing the communal designs of the present Government. This action of the present governement is reprehensible and reaffirms the communal credentials of the so – called secular JD(S). We are particularly concerned that this particular action of arresting secular activists and preventing peaceful protests bodes ill for the future of democracy in Karnataka.

We request you to write / phone / fax / email the Chief Minister and the Home Minister demanding the immediate release of the arrested activists. We also hope that you would state in most certain terms your unacceptance of such a communal agenda of this government especially with regard to Bababudangiri and the recent Mangalore riots.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy
Ph: 2225 3414 / 22253424/
e-mail : cm@kar.nic.in

Home Minister M.P. Prakash
Ph: 22251798
Internal Ph: 2092489
e-mail: homemin@vsb.kar.nic.in

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