More than 75 intellectuals write open letter to Karnataka CM, urge him to restore communal harmony in state
Authors of the open letter pointed out that they had been trying to secure an appointment with the state CM for more than a month but without much success. This prompted them to write the open letter
More than 75 writers, academicians, filmmakers, scientists and former bureaucrats have written to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai highlighting the urgent need to restore peace and harmony within the state.
The authors of the open letter pointed out that they had been trying to secure an appointment with the state Chief Minister for more than a month but without much success. This had prompted them to write the open letter.
“We are deeply disturbed by recent developments in the state that threaten to destroy the peace, diversity and pluralism for which Kannada Naadu has long been known and admired. We believe it is our duty to bring our concerns and suggestions to your attention for corrective action,” stated the letter and pointed towards Karnataka’s ‘long-standing, proud history of communal harmony that pre-dates the formation of the State in 1956’.
The letter stated, “We believe the restoration of communal harmony is an important and urgent task and trust that the government you head will not wish to go down in history as the one that precipitated a steep downturn in the reputation and fortunes of our state through inaction.”
“It is not for nothing that our Rashtra Kavi Kuvempu’s Naada Geethe (state anthem) described this land as “sarva janangada shantiya thota” – a garden of peace for diverse communities – nearly a century ago. It is this open-minded, cosmopolitan culture of Karnataka that has made it a magnet for creative and innovative minds from across the country in more recent times,” stated the authors of the letter.
It is this cosmopolitan nature, the letter noted, because of which people have flocked to the state and contributed to making it one of the most vibrant and dynamic states in terms of science and technology, education, healthcare, entrepreneurship, literature and the arts, social and cultural life.
The signatories include T Abroo, Ammu Joseph, Ravivarma Kumar, Girish Kasaravalli, Vivek Shanbagh, MS Satyu, Ramachandra Guha, Vaidehi, Shashi Deshpande, Chiranjeevi Singh, Tejaswini Niranjana, Janaki Nair, Pratibha Nandakumar, Deepa Dhanraj, KG Narayanan, AR Vasavi, Sabiha Bhoomigowda, Nagesh Hegde, Lakshmipathi Kolar Satyajit Mayor, SG Vasudev and Vinod Vyasulu.
This letter comes in the backdrop of the recent spate of attacks of various kinds aimed at Muslim, Christian and Dalit communities which has shocked and upset those who pride themselves on Karnataka’s receptive and inclusive nature.
“It is bad enough that individuals and groups motivated by bigotry and hatred are attempting to reconfigure the idea and established reality of Karnataka by aggressively seeking to exclude, isolate, dispossess and assault communities on the basis of religion and caste,” stated the letter.
The authors of the letter noted with alarm that people in responsible positions, including several who hold office having taken an oath to uphold and abide by the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India, are openly violating that solemn pledge and demonising members of certain minorities.
“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. It is not possible to “Make in India” in a climate where people are “Scared in India” and even “Scarred in India,” observed the letter.
The letter requests the government to direct the state’s police force to do its Constitutional duty to uphold the law, safeguard vulnerable citizens; take prompt and strong action against hate speech that dehumanises members of particular communities; and urge sections of the media that have been openly stoking the fires of division and discord by promoting intolerance, hatred and violence, and spreading fake news and false rumours, to immediately stop such malpractice.