Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday declared that the State government would initiate stringent action against those trying to disturb communal harmony, irrespective of their social and political status, and vowed to check the menace of moral policing and ‘love jihad’.
In his reply to the Assembly and Council to a discussion on motion of thanks to the Governor’s address to a joint session of the State legislature, the Chief Minister said: “There are communal and fundamentalist forces in society, who are trying to disturb communal harmony with an eye on the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. The recent communal clashes in Chikmagalur and Tumkur are a testimony to this. But we will crackdown on whoever indulges in communal activities. There is no compromise in this regard.”
Blaming the BJP as being responsible for the recent communal clashes in Chikmagalur, he cautioned that the question of differentiating among the BJP’s outfits and Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD) would not arise. Expressing concern over the increasing incidents of moral policing and ‘love jihad’, especially in the coastal region, he said such acts were triggering communal violence.
At the same time, he maintained that the incidents of communal violence which stood at 20 and 19 in 2011 and 2012 respectively, had reduced to 16 in 2013. Denying allegations that the law and order situation had collapsed in the State, he said he had directed the police to act sternly against those trying to take law into their hands.
Mr. Siddaramaiah maintained that the government was working speedily for the development of the State by focussing on inclusive growth. But, those who were unable to withstand the development were trying to find fault and making false allegations of law and order failure, he said. He said despite recession, the tax collection rate in 2013-14 till December had increased by 11 per cent compared with the performance in the corresponding period last year.
On the apprehensions of a drinking water shortage, he said he had directed the deputy commissioners of districts and chief executive officers of all the zilla panchayats to prepare a contingency plan for providing drinking water from February to May.
He announced that the Public Distribution System (PDS) Guarantee programme would be launched from February 1. Pointing out that the sugar mill owners would take a week’s time to convey their stand on the payment of State Advisory Price of Rs. 2,500 a tonne to sugarcane farmers, he expressed confidence that the problem would be solved.
On the controversial Yettinahole project, he said the Detailed Project Report (DPR) was ready and administrative approval would be accorded shortly.
Dissatisfied with the Chief Minister’s reply, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a walkout.