After Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw flagged “growing religious divide” in Karnataka, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday asked everyone to show “restraint” and solve their issues through talks.
“At no cost should peace and law-and-order be disrupted. All should cooperate. Karnataka is known for peace and progress. This shouldn't be affected,” Bommai told reporters when asked to comment on Mazumdar-Shaw's tweet.
On Wednesday night, Mazumdar-Shaw asked Bommai to check communal developments, making her the first major corporate voice to speak out.
“Karnataka has always forged inclusive economic development and we must not allow such communal exclusion. If IT/BT became communal it would destroy our global leadership,” she wrote, urging Bommai to “please resolve this growing religious divide”.
Mazumdar-Shaw followed it up with another tweet: “Our CM is a very progressive leader. I am sure he will resolve this issue soon.”
Bommai acknowledged that several issues had come to the fore of late. “For instance, the uniform for schoolchildren got settled with the High Court’s judgement. On all other issues, my appeal to the people concerned is that we’ve been living together by following our beliefs. Before going public, everyone should use restraint, maintain peace and order. Several social problems that are raised can be solved with talks,” he said.
Mazumdar-Shaw was reacting to news on Muslim traders being kept away from temples, following calls by Hindu groups. The government has cited Muzrai rules framed in 2002 stating no space near a temple can be leased to non-Hindus.
Mazumdar-Shaw's tweet drew a sharp response from BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya on Thursday. “Good to see Kiran Shaw wake up to the religious divide in Karnataka. Did she speak up when a belligerent minority sought to prioritise Hijab over education or Congress framed rules excluding non-Hindus from Hindu institutions. She helped Congress draft their manifesto. Explains?” he said in a tweet, attaching a copy of the 2002 Muzrai rules.
“It is unfortunate to see people like Kiran Shaw impose their personal, politically coloured opinion, and conflate it with India’s leadership in the IT/BT sector,” Malviya said. “Rahul Bajaj once said something similar for Gujarat, it is today a leading automobile manufacturing hub. Go figure…”
Mazumdar-Shaw lamented that "vested interests" had hijacked the issue. "I am confident our CM Bommai will resolve the matter peacefully. I am a proud kannadiga n don’t want to see these incidents detract from economic progress. All parties need to work towards this (sic)," she said.
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