Karnataka: Concern over attacks on minorities, Dalits

Bengaluru: Former Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde criticized Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde for his remarks calling for change in the constitution. At a roundtable conference on the topic, ‘Save Constitution Save Democracy’ here on Wednesday, the panelists discussed the voices being stifled in the name of majoritarian politics under the BJP led government at the centre. “Without dragging political parties into the discussion, we can talk about some of the deplorable issues which have taken place in the country and are condemnable. It should not be associated with a political party,” the former Lokayukta added.  The conference organised by the Forum to Safeguard Constitution tore into the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha, the two organizations who dreamt of Hindu Rashtra and gaining prominence under the current dispensation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The flashpoint in the juggernaut of violent Hindutva was the selection of Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. Unending atrocities are being committed on minorities and Dalits by fringe groups such as gau rakshaks, Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sena etc,” Kodandaramaiah said. Prime Minister Modi’s silence over a spate of the murder of rationalists such as Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh was also questioned by former Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar. The panelists also recalled the dark period of emergency, when the government institutions and the press were compromised.

“We are still witnessing the ramifications of emergency. With corruption, we cannot safeguard the constitution and no government is willing to give the power to the people,” said Chiranjeevi Singh, former additional chief secretary. The minuscule representation of North East politicians in the Upper House was also highlighted pointing out to the necessity of equality in order to safeguard the constitution. Transgender rights activist Dr Akkai Padmashali attacked Section 377 that criminalizes consensual sex between adults of the same gender and alluded that constitution guarantees morality and one cannot oppress the minorities.

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