I am deeply disturbed at recent developments in the state of Karnataka, once known for its secular character, peace and cosmopolitan ambience. The state has seen a spurt in activities against the minorities, both Muslims and Christians. A local group recently met the National human Rights Commission and Union Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil in this context.
Now it transpires that even as they fail to curb anti-Christian terrorism, Karnataka State agencies are entering Christian educational institutions to probe links of Human rights groups with alleged Naxalite activity.
In a very controversial incident, intelligence agents came to the famous St Joseph's College in Bangalore, among others, last Sunday. They hung around the college premises for more than four long hours. They were keen to know how the "Karnataka communal harmony" group made an entry into St. Joseph's College premises. The group consisting of several activists, academicians and others meet in various parts of the state. The major colleges in the state capital – as is the practice in most metropolitan cities — routinely provide space for all progressive groups.
Intelligence groups insist that many such human rights and civil society groups sympathise with Naxalites and PWG. Angry college authorities have questioned this state action, and ask if giving space to human rights groups is against the government policies.
It is understood that Mr. Deve Gowda has been monitoring all NGOs in his home district of Hassan. Activists have been complaining that the social space is becoming limited in the State.