Protests force cancellation of K’taka govt seminar

Prime News, State, (Bengaluru), January 23:-Protests by BJP and some pro-Kannada organisations, citing the three-day mourning announced for the death of Siddaganga Math head DR Shivakumara Swamiji, forced the cancellation of a Karnataka government seminar on Tuesday.

The seminar titled ‘Conversations of the Constitution’, which was organised by the state social welfare department and a television channel, was called off after the first session, Karnataka Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge said.

Former vice president Hamid Ansari, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, BJP MP Rakesh Sinha, retired Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde, student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, social activist Medha Patkar, film actor Prakash Raj and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi were among the prominent speakers.

A highly revered seer known for his stellar contributions in the field of education and social service, Shivakumara Swamiji died at 111 on Monday.

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumarasamy had announced one-day government holiday on Tuesday and a three-day state mourning as a mark of respect for the Siddaganga Math head.

“The state government is organising this event in the name of Constitution when it has declared three-day mourning. It should have cancelled the event,” Karnataka BJP spokesperson Go Madhusudan told reporters outside a hotel where the seminar was organised.

The BJP leader said he had spoken to Kharge, asking him to call off the event as it was unfair, but the government remained adamant.

Madhusudan claimed he had been invited to the event by one of the organisers, but he chose to boycott it.

“Shamelessness of @INCKarnataka reaches new heights.While State is mourning the loss of Shri Shivakumara Swamiji, Congress Minister @PriyankKharge has organised a luxury event inviting Tukde gang head Kanhaiya & Owaisi to speak on democracy. May God do well to you,” BJP’s Karnataka unit said in a tweet.

In a statement released here, BJP SC Morcha national general secretary Chi Na Ramu and state general secretary Ravi Kumar also slammed the state government for holding the event.

The statement said organising an event like ‘Conversations of the Constitution’ by inviting Owaisi was “laughable”.

When Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress pointed out that Sinha, BJP Rajya Sabha member, was also a panelist, he clarified that he had withdrawn from the event.

“I withdrew from the event, didn’t join opening session…I openly insisted the programme should be cancelled as a mark of respect to Swamiji. Don’t disguise your discourtesy using my name,” Sinha said in a tweet.

Kharge said the decision to cancel the seminar was taken because it had hurt the sentiments of a section of people.

The social welfare minister told reporters that there was no direction to stop all government work.

“Mourning means doing some good work that can give peace to the departed soul. There are clear directions that no entertainment programmes are organised. The apolitical programme was based on a serious topic of the Constitution,” he said.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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