May ban Sri Ram Sene if they attacked rationalists: Siddaramaiah
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah says threats to rationalists and writers will be dealt with an iron hand.india Updated: Sep 25, 2015 09:21 IST
The Karnataka government may recommend a ban on Sri Rama Sene or any other Hindu extremist organisations if it gets “solid evidence” of their involvement in the recent attacks on rationalists, chief minister Siddaramaiah said on Thursday.
“We are collecting evidence and keeping a close watch on the activities of these organisations. Whoever tries to threaten writers and other rationalists will be dealt with an iron hand,” he told HT. “If there is strong evidence against them, we may also recommend a ban. But the final decision rests with the central government.”
Professor MM Kalburgi, a well-known rationalist, was murdered at his residence in Dharwad on August 30 for his alleged remarks on Hindu culture and practices. A week later, another scholar, KS Bhagwan, who is set to receive a Sahitya Akademy award on November 7, received death threats.
Kalburgi’s murder has been linked to the August 2013 killing of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune and veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur in February this year.
“I will not allow the demise of thoughts,” Siddaramaiah said. “Giving threats to citizens is not a good development. We have to deal with these elements with all seriousness.”
On the political front, Siddaramaiah takes the credit for “turning the defeat in the recent Bengaluru civic polls into a victory” after Congress joined hands with Janata Dal (Secular) to wrest the mayor’s post from the BJP, which had ruled Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike for five years but fell three short of majority by winning 100 seats in the 198-member council. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed the results as a hat-trick win after the victories in the civic elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
“We managed to check BJP,” he said. However, he admitted that the rise of parties such as MIM and Socialist Democratic Party of India may cut into Congress votes in the next assembly elections. “We haven’t allowed MIM to grow in Karnataka but it is a fact that these parties will divide the secular votes,” he said.
Siddaramaiah is also looking forward to the two-day visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to the state beginning October 6, where Gandhi will meet sugarcane farmers in Mandya and undertake a padyatra in Haveri.
Siddaramaiah also lamented that the PM was not “positive” to his suggestion to call a meeting of chief ministers of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa to resolve the Mahadayi river water dispute.