Free expression under threat in country: Kum Veerabhadrappa

Kananda writer Kum Veerabhadrappa said, free expression is under threat in the country in the present situation. Speaking at a programme organised in memory of rationalist Prof B V Veerabhadrappa by his fans and family members in Davangere on Thursday, he regretted that writers, intellectuals and other progressive thinkers who express their views on religion and other issues are under attack in the country. Forces who killed rationalists Dr M M Kalaburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh have challenged the democracy in the country.

“There was a time when Indians were proud of their values of pluralism and tolerance; now that is under attack along with freedom of expression. For a country that takes great pride in its democracy and history of free speech, the present situation is troubling. Religious intolerance is threatening India’s academic and creative freedom. Writers cannot speak and write against the murderers of rationalist Dr M M Kalaburgi and Gauri Lankesh. Writers are under fear of expressing their views”, he said.

He said, astrology, blind beliefs, casteism and religious intolerance are dangerous to the democracy of the country. He ridiculed the State government’s move on bringing Anti-superstion Bill when practise of astrology and blind beliefs are having an upper hand in the society.

Criticising politicians for seeking blessings from ‘saadhus’ and ‘aghoris’, he said, eradication of superstition and blind beliefs should begin from Vidahan Soudha, the seat of power in the State. Unfortunately, politicians are promoting and patronising such beliefs in the society. Mr Kum Veerabhadrappa also expressed his displeasure over television channels encouraging astrology and spreading blind beliefs in the society.

The real terrorists of the society are astrologers. They can be seen displaying various on rings in all their fingers. This has became a way to cheat people to make money. People should not get cheated by astrologers, he said.

Remembering the contributions of late writer, Prof B V Veerabhadrappa, Mr Kum Veerabhadrappa said, the late writer donated his body after his death. People should come forward to voluntarily donate their bodies after death as it would help medical research.

He also regretted the increasing old age homes in recent years. He said, it indicates the collapse of Indian joint family system. He said, writers such as P Lankesh and Veerabhadrappa accepted ‘Basava Dharma’. Youth should embrace this religion, he said.

Earlier, Taralabalu Brihan Sanehalli branch mutt seer Panditharadhya Shivacharya swamiji inaugurated the memorial programme. Folklore expert M G Eshwarappa, Department of Water Resources secretary B G Gurupadaswamy, writers B M Basavarajaiah, Mahalingappa, Ananthamma, B V Sudha, R Chandramouli, Dr B V Veena, Pujitha Vachan, Gowri and family members of B V Veerabhadrappa took part in the programme.
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