Just days after the Nanavati commission gave the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi a clean chit in the 2002 riots, a BJP minister in Karnataka has stoked the flames once again. The irony is that CT Ravi is minister for Tourism, Culture and Kannada language in the BS Yediyurappa cabinet. His comment will embarrass the top BJP leadership.
“If you have forgotten about what happens when the majority loses patience, just look back at what happened after Godhra. The majority here is capable of repeating it. Do not test our patience,” said Ravi in Kannada to News18.
Ravi’s uncivil comment was an unveiled threat to the minority community and pitched the protests over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a Hindu vs Muslim binary. Worse, it spoke of the possible use of violence to quell the protests without realising that a majority of the protesting citizens have refused to be identified according to the religion they were born into, but as proud Indians.
This is also coastal Karnataka’s political rivalries playing out. Ravi’s comment is also a response to Congress leader UT Khader’s opposition to the implementation of CAA and NRC later. Khader is one of the senior leaders from coastal Karnataka.
Incidentally, front pages of newspapers on Friday carry a message from the chief minister asking citizens of the state not to get swayed or provoked by statements or rumours.
What is worrying is that Ravi’s comment has come at the same time when violence broke out in Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada district in coastal Karnataka. Two people were killed in police firing and DGP of Karnataka has suggested that internet services be suspended in the district for the next 48 hours to prevent transmission of inflammatory content.
Dakshina Kannada district for years has been seen as a communal hotspot, a Hindutva laboratory of sorts. Several right-wing groups have been active along the coast, with incidents of moral policing and and use of force to prevent alleged love jehad reported from the district. In this context, Ravi’s comment acquire a chilling hue.