Open Letter to Chief Minister on His Statement made on ‘MORAL POLICING’

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Open Letter to Chief Minister on His Statement made on ‘MORAL POLICING’

The responsibility of the State Government is to protect Constitutional morality, not to protect criminals.

Dear Shri Basavaraj Bommai avare,

We condemn the statement made by you today (13 th October) in regard to the issue of “moral policing”, where you effectively justify the same and say “When sentiments are hurt, it is natural that there are actions and reactions” and state that “Even the youth should keep in mind these sentiments and act according to it.

This is a societal question. Society needs morality. Can we live without morality? No, we cannot. Relationships and peace are maintained by this morality.” This statement has been made at a time when instances of “moral policing” have increased in the State of Karnataka, which has in fact witnessed the killing of persons for the simple act of loving across caste and religion – Dhanappa who was tortured and murdered in Koppal and Shri Arbaaz Mulla who was beheaded in Belgaum. It comes at a time when instances of “moral policing” in Dakshina Kannada are increasing, where youth intermingling from different religions are dragged to police stations, their movement curtailed and in some cases even assaulted.

Your statement that social morality is to be protected is not an innocent message. It sends out a dangerous message that as far as you are concerned, it is ok to use violence to enforce what some people see as ‘morality’. The people of the state expected you to condemn these violent acts of ‘moral policing’ and take action as you did with the BTM layout case in Bangalore. Instead, shockingly you have instead spoken in a manner, which may encourage more such acts. This is the hypocrisy of the highest order.

These acts of violence affect the dignity of the youth and instil fear in them. It condemns minorities and Dalits to lead the life of second-class citizens. It also conveys the message that women have no right in choosing their partners. It is an attack on all women in fact. It also fills the minds of many youths among the majority community with hate. Additionally, these crimes, also lead to brutal violence like the torture and murder of Dhannappa to Arbaaz Mulla. By attacking those who love across boundaries of religion and caste, the vigilantes are attacking both democracy and fraternity.

The reason fraternity is there in the Indian Constitution is because Babasaheb Ambedkar wanted it to be there. One of the ways of achieving fraternity for Babasaheb was through ‘inter-marriage. As he put it, ‘Fusion of blood can alone create the feeling of being kith and kin, and unless this feeling of kinship, of being kindred, becomes paramount, the separatist feeling- the feeling of being aliens- created by caste will not vanish.’ What is under threat today is what Babasaheb called ‘constitutional morality. As Justice Nariman observed in his decision in Navtej Singh Johar v UOI, “It is not left to majoritarian governments to prescribe what shall be orthodox in matters concerning social morality.”.

It is your responsibility as the Chief Minister to protect ‘constitutional morality which is the fundamental postulates of human liberty, equality, fraternity and dignity. We refuse to allow the land of Basavanna to become a field of hate.

We demand that you answer these questions:

1. Your administration was quick to take action in the immoral policing incident in BTM Layout and you even issued a statement condemning the same and assuring action. Why are you not taking swift action where the victims are minorities and the accused are members of right-wing Hindutva groups?

2. The Supreme Court has directed the state to ensure the protection of inter-caste and inter-faith couples. What steps has your government taken to ensure the same?

3. Organizations such as Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagarana Vedike are imposing social apartheid through brute mob violence. What action will you take against

4. What action are you taking against Sri Ram Sene Hindustan whose members are arrested for the beheading of Shri Arbaaz?

5. What steps have you taken to comply with the directions of the Supreme Court to pass a law against lynching?

6. Babasaheb Ambedkar had in fact said that inter-caste marriages help annihilate caste. Is your administration committed to annihilating caste?

7. Why has your government not acted against the rising incident of hate- speech which lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on the vulnerable that can range from discrimination to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and, in the most extreme cases, genocide?

8. What is your government’s plan to tackle these hate crimes such as those against Dhanappa and Arbaaz?

9. The constitution provides for freedom of religion. Why is your administration keeping silent and in some instances aiding in the attack on Christians for
exercising their religious freedom?

10. Are you committed to upholding constitutional morality?

Endorsed by :

1. Justice H.N. Nagamohan Das
2. Prof. S.G. Siddaramaiah
3. Dr. K. Marulasiddappa
4. Dr. Vijaya, Writer and Activist
5. Dr. Sabiha Bhoomigowda
6. Bhanu Mushtaq, Advocate and Writer
7. Du Saraswati, Social Activist and Writer
8. Dr Mohanraj, Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Bheemvaada)
9. Mavalli Shankar, Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Ambedkarvaada)
10. Tanveer, Movement for Justice
11. Badagalpura Nagendra, President KRRS
12. Byyareddy, KPRS
13. Vimala K.S., Activist
14. T. Surendra Rao Samudaya Karnataka
15. Dr. Asifa Nisar
16. Kavitha Gurughanti, Social Activist
17. Prakash Kammaradi, Agrarian economics expert
18. Mohammad Yusuf Khanni, VP, JIH-Karnataka
19. Kavitha Lankesh, Filmmaker
20. B. Suresha, Filmmaker and Writer
21. Isaac Selva, Editor, Slum Jagathu
22. V. Gayathri
23. Sumathi K.R Mysore
25. All India Progressive Womens Association (AIPWA)
26. All India Peoples Forum (AIPF)
27. Naveddu Nillladiddare Karnataka, A statewide network of womens rights organisations and activists.
29. Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
30. Kavita Kabeer, All India People’s Science Network
31. Growthwatch
32. Maitreyi Krishnan
33. Sathya S
34. Clifton D’ Rozario, National Convener, AILAJ
35. Vinay Sreenivasa
36. Avani Chokshi
37. Gunjan Jena, Lawyer
38. Aditya Nataraja, Concerned citizen
39. Leo Saldhana, Environment Support Group
40. Dr. Swathi Shivananand, Historian
41. Kalappa, HMKP
42. Ojas Shetty, Activist
43. Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development
44. Yuva Shakti, Nelamangala
45. Hate Speech Beda
46. Usha Rao
47. Aasha Ramesh, Womens Rights Activist
48. We the Women, Dakshina Kannada
49. Rajgopal Narayana, Bengaluru
50. Gautam Sonti
51. Vidya Dinker
52. Akshatha Humchadakatte, Publisher
53. Achyuth Samudaya Karnataka
54. Yogesh Master, Writer
55. S Balan Advocate
56. Dinesh Amin Mattu, Senior Journalist
57. Dr.N.Gayathri
58. Chetan Ahimsa, Actor

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