Jyoti Nivas fracas: Unseemly, BJP

Jyoti Nivas fracas: Unseemly, BJP

Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwathnarayan

Protests for and against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, have been, by and large, peaceful in Karnataka, marred only by the death of two people in police firing during demonstrations in Mangaluru. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has so far acted with immense maturity by not issuing any provocative statements and by conceding equal ground to both camps to make their voices heard. However, this narrative of peaceful protests does not seem to appeal to a certain section of the BJP which has been itching for some confrontation. The fracas between the students of Jyoti Nivas College (JNC) and BJP workers only points in this direction. The BJP’s choice of JNC seems to be deliberate because it is run by a minority community, but it is strange that the party should depute a group of unruly men instead of members of its women’s wing to “educate” the students of the girls’ college on CAA. Was the intent to provoke the students and create a JNU-like situation? The students were well within their right to protest, because the BJP group had no business to hang political banners on the compound wall of the college, that too without out authorisation from the management. 

What came as a further shock was the support extended to the BJP activists by Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwathnarayan who, as the minister for higher education, ironically, should have stood by the students and the college. For one of the more educated and usually suave among the party’s leaders to declare that the students had no right to question his party workers who were creating a nuisance around the college is to betray an attitude that nobody suspected in him. Does the minister really want to send the message that he condones such acts of hooliganism by his party men? His words and actions do not behove someone of his reputation and position.

Bengaluru has been the site of vociferous but peaceful protests and even in the midst of these protests and the pressures that the state government must be under to curb them, Yediyurappa has so far adopted a conciliatory approach by trying to take all sections along. Karnataka, especially Bengaluru, has shown to the country that both those who oppose and those who favour CAA can co-exist peacefully. Attempts to disturb this harmony and sully the image of the state should be nipped in the bud.

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