By M.K. Ashoka
Bengaluru, Jan 21 (IANS): Ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections, Karnataka is witnessing a politics of polarisation like never before.
Right from hijab crisis, revenge killings, allegations of saffronisation of syllabus, boycott of Muslim traders and the NIA investigations revealing shocking connections of locals with global terror network, all these developments have left a deep impression on the mindset of voters of Karnataka.
Ruling BJP is pursuing Hindutva agenda without any hesitation by enacting the laws in connection with forceful religious conversions and banning cow slaughter.
State BJP President, Nalin Kumar Kateel's statement that "questions should not be raised on the condition of roads or gutters, rather people should focus on 'Love Jihad' and protection Hindu women", has stirred a controversy.
Commenting on the moral policing in coastal Karnataka region, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has said that "there will be a reaction to an action". Opposition Congress leaders blamed Chief Minister Bommai's statements for revenge killings.
When the hijab crisis seemed to be settling down in the state after threatening the law and order situation and drawing the attention of global terror outfit Al Qaeda, the revenge killings shook the state.
Harsha, a Bajrang Dal activist, who was in the forefront of the campaign against hijab was hacked to death in Shivamogga. Similarly, Praveen Kumar Nettare, a BJP Yuva Morcha activist was lynched in Dakshina Kannada district.
Mohammad Fazil was allegedly killed by Hindu activists as "revenge". The probe revealed that Nettare was killed to avenge the death of one Masood, who was allegedly killed by Hindu activists in a road rage case.
Further investigations revealed a well planned terror network operating in the state. The probe into the cooker bomb blast case in Mangaluru by the NIA revealed the anti-nationals taking deep root in Karnataka and are preparing to carry out a bomb blast in the state.
The controversy surrounding the installation of Veer Savarkar's flexes and banners also resulted in stabbing incidents and Karnataka police reined in the situation by shooting the accused in the leg.
Chief Minister Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra have said that they will ensure that probing agencies go deep into the investigation and get to the roots.
The allegation of saffronisation of school syllabus led to a big controversy. The developments have left a deep impact on students, threatening to develop a divisive mindset in their formative years.
Influential Pejawar Mutt seer said that though the government has enacted the bills on religious conversion and cow slaughtering, the incidents are recurring. "The government should give special attention to make the laws in this regard more powerful," he said.
"The governments are enacting laws as per the demands of the people. But, these are becoming an eye wash. There is a need to implement the laws in its true spirit," he stated.
Pramod Muthalik, founder of Sri Ram Sena, has said that the BJP is pursuing Hindutva just for the sake of elections. He claimed that his party's candidates will defeat BJP in the upcoming assembly elections. Hindu Mahasabha has also announced that it will prevent BJP's victory in the coastal region.
Academician and activist Niranjan Aradhya V.P. says, "The divisive politics will create more and more divisions among people based on caste, creed, and religion. Certainly it affects political, social and economic life."
"... it is more of ghettos. Ghettos in terms of calling things like 'us' and 'they'. Kind of a silos in society, the community has to live with peaceful co-existence, fraternity, brotherhood, sisterhood. Polarisation is a threat and it is more of a division," he asserted.
"Gradually it leads to a civil war-like situation; what exactly happened in Sri Lanka. Society will certainly witness riots and fighting among communities more often," the activist said, adding that "it is already visible in Dharwad and other places where Muslim traders were boycotted. Politically, these developments are not good for democracy".
"Democracy is a system governance based on certain core principles. Everyone should vote while keeping core issues in mind, but, it is more of caste and religion. It is weakening the democracy... and it will be a big threat to the constitutional democracy," Aradhya explained.
"After 75 years of independence, instead of moving forward, it is kind of moving backward towards varna system, caste divisions, it is very painful and worrying. I am more concerned about the younger generation. They will find it difficult to live peaceful co-existence," he underlined.