Anti-communal wing, moral policing in Karnataka
‘Moral policing’, according to the sources in the government, will mean threats to writers and thinkers, spreading communal hatred, attacks on several places and people etc.. Representation pic: Twitter

Karnataka to set up 'Anti-Communal Wing' to curb moral policing

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The Karnataka government is all set to form a special task force called the ‘Anti-Communal Wing’ to curb moral policing across the state.

‘Moral policing’, according to the sources in the government, would mean threats to writers and thinkers, spreading communal hatred, attacks on several places and people, etc.

The Congress, which had promised to bring back ‘Sarva Jnangada Shantiya Tota’ (a Garden of Peace for all people, the words used to describe Karnataka by Jnanpith awardee poet Kuvempu), while campaigning for the 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections, is going ahead with putting this plan into effect.

The recent spate of moral policing incidents, death threats to the thinkers, and lynching cases have prompted the government to set up a special team. At the same time, the government will also revoke the Cow Slaughter Act, Anti-Conversion Act and consider dropping the text parts included in the textbooks by the BJP government, etc. But, the government also fears that there will be law and order problems from fringe elements once these Acts are revoked.

Therefore, the task Force will look after these issues with the help of police, sources added.

Also read: Karnataka’s Education Minister assures school textbook revision will occur this year

Moral policing case

A recent ‘moral policing’ case occurred in coastal Someshwara beach area on the outskirts of Mangalore. A group of youths, who were in the company of three young women suspected to be from a Muslim community from Kerala, were attacked. Six youths from Kerala had come for a vacation to Someshwara beach, which falls under the Ullal police station.

A group of youths belonging to a fringe ‘pro-Hindutva’ group followed them and attacked the youths, who were injured.

This incident prompted Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to ask home minister Dr G Parameshwar to take stringent action against such cases. Parameshwar visited Mangaluru and asked his top officials to give him the list of such incidents in the recent past, sources said.

Threat letters to writers

At the same time, writers and thinkers, including Banjagere Jayaprakash, Vasundhara Bhupathi and others too, have got anonymous threatening letters. Jayaprakash received death threats for his statement on textbook revision several times. The letter stated, “It is a tough government for the Hindu gentlemen. Dear government, for people like you, traitors, fanatics, Muslims, religious Christians are important. Your life will certainly burn.”

The letter further said that they have issued death threats to other progressive writers and thinkers, including Vasundhara Bhupathi, SG Siddaramaiah, Kum Veerabhadrappa, Baraguru Ramachandrappa, Devanur Mahadeva, BT  Lalitha Nayak, Prakash Raj (actor), Prof Bhagwan, Prof Mahesh Chandra Guru, Dr CS Dwarkanath, Dinesh Aminmattu, Prof Hampa Nagarajaiah along with 61 people.

A lynching case, in which a Muslim youth was murdered in Kanakapura before elections and other such incidents, are being reported regularly in the state. To curb such incidents of moral policing, the government has chalked out plans to set up a ‘Task force’, where a senior police officer of the rank of DIGP or IGP will head the team. He will have limited staff but he will have to coordinate with all police stations and other officers, who are looking after law and order, said sources in the home department.

Also read: Congress in a bind: To repeal, or not, cow slaughter ban in Karnataka

Dr G Parameshwara said he had instructed the police to take strict action against moral policing.

After holding a meeting with the police officers, he said, “We are making a new team like this for the first time in the state to establish communal harmony. There will be competent officers in this wing.”

A top police official said that the task force will be named “Anti-Communal Wing” and it will start working in the coastal region in the beginning and then it will be expanded to include the entire state. A DIGP/IGP-level officer will head the state-level team.

“We are framing rules and regulations for this new force, which will look after the moral policing and spreading of communal hatred and also the threat letters to various personalities in the state,” he said. “The team will also be assisted by cybercrime experts, to look after the social media, where such anti-social elements spread rumours and messages to disturb communal harmony,” he said.

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