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PUCL-K’s open letter to CM & Governor of Karnataka regarding economic boycott of Muslim businesses in temple fairs in Karnataka

March 28, 2022 by · Comments Off on PUCL-K’s open letter to CM & Governor of Karnataka regarding economic boycott of Muslim businesses in temple fairs in Karnataka
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Press Releases 


  1. Shri Thawar Chand Gehlot,
    Governor of Karnataka,
    Raj Bhavan Road,
    Karnataka state – 560001
  2. Shri. Basavaraj Bommai,
    Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka,
    Vidhana Soudha,
    Bengaluru, Karnataka – 560001

Dear Sir,

Sub: Regarding the dangerous unconstitutional economic boycott of Muslim
businesses in temples fairs in Karnataka.

The PUCL-K is deeply disturbed by the range of media reports for the barring of Muslims
from participating in auctions for the annual festival in Mahanlingeshwara Temple in Puttur
district. The media has reported that this prohibition has been followed by the Hosa Marigud
Temple in Udupi District refusing to allot stalls to Muslims. There are also statements by
Bajrang Dal and Shri Rama Sena leaders calling for the economic boycott of the Muslim

The boycott calls are sought to be given a fig leaf of legitimacy by referring to Rule 31(12) of
the 2002 Rules of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments
Act, 1997, which state that no property, including land, building or sites situated near the
institution shall be leased out to non-Hindus. However as Senior advocate Chander Uday
Singh pointed out this is a deliberate misinterpretation of the provision as Rule 31 only deals
with long-term leases of immoveable property owned by a temple (up to 30 years for land,
and five years for shops and buildings). It does not deal with the short-term licences which
would be used to allot stalls or spaces to vendors during a festival.

Both economic boycott and calling for economic boycott is violative of the constitutional
promise of non-discrimination enacted in Article 15. Article 15, explicitly prohibits
discrimination on grounds of religion, besides race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 15(2)
further proclaims that no citizen be subject to any ‘restriction’ with regard to ‘access to
shops’, ‘maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general

It bears noting that for Babasaheb Ambedkar, ‘shops’ was to be interpreted broadly to
prohibit people from excluding others from economic life through boycotts based on religion,
caste etc. We should also remember that Babasaheb Ambedkar was a vociferous opponent of
social and economic boycotts noting that it was a form of ‘tyranny of the majority’. In his
words, ‘the method of open violence pales before it, for it has the most far reaching and
deadening effect. It is more dangerous because it passes as a lawful method consistent with
the theory of freedom of contract’.

The call for social and economic boycott should deeply worry all Indians is because of the
tragic history of the aftermath of such boycott calls in world history. In Nazi Germany hate
speech dehumanizing the Jewish community was followed by calls for social and economic
boycott which was followed by the enactment of laws depriving Jews of citizenship and
finally the genocide against the Jews. Rwanda and Myanmar followed a similar path in their
path to committing the ‘crime of crimes’, genocide. We should take seriously these warnings
from history and silence is not an option for any constitutional authority. All constitutional
authorities must step in to ensure that governance in Karnataka is in accordance with the
Constitution and we do not go down a path taken by other countries such as Nazi Germany
and Hutu power Rwanda.

Hence, we call upon the following actions to be taken immediately:

  1. Immediately withdraw the decisions, and ensure that Muslims and persons of all
    religious communities are provided an equal space and opportunity to carry out their
    businesses during all days of the festivals;
  2. Immediately initiate criminal action against the organizations pressurizing and
    attempting to cause an economic boycott of Muslim businesses;
  3. Ensure that immediate measures are taken to restore and maintain communal harmony
    across Karnataka as required by the Communal Harmony Guidelines, 2008 issued by
    the Ministry of Home Affairs, including keeping organizations that undermine
    communal harmony under scrutiny and taking appropriate action against them;
  4. Clarify the statements made by elected representatives erroneously interpreting the
    Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 to
    legitimize the unconstitutional act of discrimination on grounds of religion.
    We hope, given the urgency of the situation, that immediate action will be taken.

Adv. Arvind Narrain,
PUCL – Karnataka

Adv. Robin Christopher,
General Secretary
PUCL – Karnataka

Mr. Shujayathulla,
PUCL – Bangalore

Press Release | Death of Two Manual Scavengers in Bengaluru

November 1, 2016 by · Comments Off on Press Release | Death of Two Manual Scavengers in Bengaluru
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Press Releases 

Download the Full Statement Here


On October 18, 2016, two manual scavengers named Venkataramana, 24, a dalit, and Manjunath, 32, died in the septic tank of Shantinivas Apartment, near Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru, due to asphyxiation. The owners/residents of Shantinivas Apartment had employed the deceased persons through a private contractor, and they were not provided with any safety gears which led to their tragic deaths.

Section 7 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, prohibit employment of persons for hazardous cleaning of a sewers or septic tanks and any contravention of this section is cognizable and a non-bailable offence under section 9 of the above Act. Additionally, offences are made out under section 3(1) (j) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 as amended in 2015 (prohibits manual scavenging), as well as under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 304 (II) which is for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

So far, an FIR has been registered only against the contractor for death due to negligence under IPC section 304A, and not against the owners of the apartment. A group of Dalit activists protested in front of the Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner’s office demanding compensation. The DC handed over a cheque of Rs 5,00,000/- to a social welfare department officer, which is only 50% of the compensation amount, meant for Venkatramana’s family who were not present at the protest venue.

As per the 2014 Supreme Court judgment in Safai Karamachari Andolan & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors, families of Venkataramana, and Manjunath should be provided a compensation of Rs.10,00,000/- each immediately, and the state government should also take immediate steps towards providing a government job to one member of the deceased persons families as per the provisions of the 2013 Act and 2014 SC judgment. Family of the deceased Venkataramana, a dalit, should also be provided with an additional Rs. 8,00,000/- compensation as per the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015.

Based on the above mentioned facts and developments, we, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties- Bengaluru, demand:

  1. That the owners of Shantinivas Apartment should be booked under IPC Section 304(II), sections 7 and 9 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, and section 3(1) (j) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015. They should be arrested immediately for the unfortunate deaths of Venkataramana, and Manjunath.
  2. That the concerned officials in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which is the local authority under the 2013 Act, should be charged under the above mentioned provisions for blatantly breaching their obligations as per the law.
  3. That the local authority act immediately in identifying the manual scavengers in Bengaluru, and rehabilitate them as per the 2013 Act.
  4. That the District Magistrate, Bengaluru, should issue a circular immediately to prohibit the practice of manual scavenging in private apartment complexes/private spaces, and failing of which should result in criminal liability of the owners of those spaces.
  5. That the hoardings depicting the prohibition of manual scavenging be displayed in different parts of the Bengaluru city.

For more details, please contact Geeta (94482-243171), or Kishor Govinda (9886-334715)


Download the Full Statement Here



Press Release | Kaveri Water Issue

September 16, 2016 by · Comments Off on Press Release | Kaveri Water Issue
Filed under: Minorities, Uncategorized 

The Kannada Press Release is Available Here

The Supreme Court has given its’s verdict over the sharing of Kaveri between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and directed the Karnataka government to release forthwith 15000 cusecs of water every day for ten days to Tamil Nadu. This verdict has created tremendous tension in Karnataka and resulted in continuous protests throughout the state for the last 10 days, causing enormous hardship among the people and has disrupted normal life throughout the state. Under these circumstances, the Karnataka government filed a petition before the same bench on Monday 12th Sept, requesting the court to review its verdict. It has been reported that the bench summarily refused to hear the submission made by Karnataka. This latest order has further aggravated the situation, turning it from bad to worse in the state. The peaceful protest has turned into violence, resulted in the killing of two innocent persons in police firing, and also causing a lot of damage to vehicles and property. The situation in the southern region of Karnataka is quite grave, and normal life has been thrown out of gear.
In the light of the above, PUCL – Karnataka proposes the following steps to defuse the situation:
1. With regard to the sharing of water, the state government should constitute a committee with experts to look into and recommend possible scientific solutions, and the court should monitor the implementation of the recommendation.
2. There should be long-term policy guidelines with regard to selecting of cropping patterns in the Kaveri basin, subject to the availability of quantum of water, both in normal and crisis situations, thereby preventing such crisis situations getting out of hand.
3. With regard to the decision on sharing of water at times of acute water scarcity, the two governments should constitute a committee with farmers living in Kaveri basin from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and urge them to deliberate on proposals / solutions, based on which decisions can be taken by the respective governments
4. In order to defuse the current tensions prevailing in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the two Chief Ministers should set aside their political calculations, and meet immediately and take a courageous decision on amicably sharing the water at this time of crisis in order to restore normalcy in their respective states.
5. The media in both the states should show due restraint in reporting incidents of unrest, and should make clear that linguistic minorities from either state are not in any way responsible for the conflict, and the resultant violence.
The government of Karnataka has so far taken concrete steps to protect the linguistic minorities in the state, barring two incidents of killing in police firing. The protection of lives and properties should be a priority issue for both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments.

PUCL draws the attention of the two governments to how a similar incident over Kaveri issue two decades ago resulted in horrific violence. Accordingly, we urge the constitutionally established authorities, including the central government, the two state governments, and the Judiciary to exercise their constitutional authority with sensitivity and caution and arrive at a permanent solution to this issue.

Dr. R V Chandrashekar – Treasurer
Mr. K Venkataraju – General Secretary
Prof. Y J Rajendra – State President


Photos From the Ejipura Protest and EWS Colony

January 20, 2013 by · Comments Off on Photos From the Ejipura Protest and EWS Colony
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Press Releases, Urban Poverty 

[wppa type=”slide” album=”4″][/wppa]

|Press Release| Demolition of EWS quarters and the Eviction of Residents

January 19, 2013 by · Comments Off on |Press Release| Demolition of EWS quarters and the Eviction of Residents
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Urban Poverty 


Demolition of EWS quarters and the Eviction of Residents

Saturday, January 19, 2013, Bangalore

The BBMP today began demolition of homes and evicting residents from the EWS quarters at Ejipura.  During the process of demolition and eviction protestors were lathi charged, physically dragged by the police and arrested – all of them women. They have been remanded to judicial custody till next Tuesday. These women have been separated from their families and homes, and cannot protect their shelters and belongings from the demolition bulldozers.

The BBMP official, B T Ramesh who was at the spot could not produce any official documents that showed that he and his crew had the authority to demolish structures and evict residents. Nor did he produce any copy of the notification supposedly shared with the residents a month back.  Notices which the BBMP claimed were pasted on the houses, were not visible on any of the houses. All the residents that we spoke to had not been notified and were unaware of this demolition drive.

In a meeting with the BBMP Commissioner today, Mr. Siddaiah agreed to stop demolitions of the occupied homes and to give a time period of 3 months for evacuation. In fact, Mr. Siddaiah called BT Ramesh in presence of activists and EWS residents. However, the demolition continued unabated; Mr. Ramesh insisted on a written order from Commissioners office, who conveniently disappeared by then. As of this afternoon, the police had given a 6 pm notice to the residents to clear their belongings.  As of now, it is reported that as many as 500 homes have been razed to the ground by the BBMP bulldozers today. Many families are out on the streets, since they do not have the finances or support to re-locate. Children whose mothers were arrested are in streets – searching them. Women cry helpless, not knowing where to take their young and old.

We, the members of civil society, representing different organisations (PUCL, PDF, and Concern) condemn the deplorable and inhuman way the demolitions, police violence and evictions have been implemented. We call for an immediate and complete halt to the eviction of residents and the demolition of occupied homes in the EWS quarters. We further demand that all charges against the residents and activists be dropped.

Right to shelter is one of the principle rights enshrined in Article 21 of our constitution. A state, under no circumstance, has a right to go against either the letter or the spirit of this right without providing alternative arrangements for all those it renders homeless. Further the police protection of demolitions does not legitimise its use of brute force and physical violence against the weakest in our society – who are but protesting, losing their all.


Issued by: People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), People’s Democratic Forum (PDF) & Concern – Bangalore

|Fact Finding Report| Attacking Pubs and Birthday Parties ~ Communal Policing by Hindutva Outfits

November 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Fact Finding Report| Attacking Pubs and Birthday Parties ~ Communal Policing by Hindutva Outfits
Filed under: Communal Violence, Human Rights, Minorities, PUCL Mangalore, Report 

[Read the full report Here]

On January 24, 2009, Pramod Muthalik’s men belonging to the Sri Ram Sene in coordination with Subash Padil (then of the Sri Rama Sene) stormed into a pub in Mangalore and violently attacked girls, on the ground that drinking was against Hindu culture. Three years later on July 28, 2012, Subash Padil (now with the Hindu Jagarana Vedike) and his men, in a cruel imitation of Sri Rama Sene’s act, stormed into a birthday party in Padil, a locality in the heart of Mangalore, and attacked both boys and girls. While these two attacks captured national and even international attention, unfortunately they were not exceptional in what they set out to do. They were only exceptional in the share of media attention they received. In the time span between these two attacks, there were at least one hundred and twelve such attacks on young persons found socializing together, and on young women in particular. The attacks were not captured by the electronic media and were reported in small columns in newspapers, mostly in the local press, and on a few occasions, made it to the national news.

This Report will first document what happened in the attack on the birthday party through the eyes of the victims and media, and then document the responses to the attack by the Hindutva groups as well as by state institutions such as the State Women’s Commission. The Report will then place the attack in the context of the breakdown of law and order in Dakshina Kannada and then make out a case for the changes that need to be brought about.

[Read the full report Here]

|Preliminary Fact Finding Report| Attack on a Dalit in Maddur for attempting to enter a temple

May 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Preliminary Fact Finding Report| Attack on a Dalit in Maddur for attempting to enter a temple
Filed under: Minorities, Report 

In Hemmanahalli, a village near Maddur, Kemparaju, a Dalit priest was assaulted on March 15 this year for challenging a social convention that bars Dalits from entering the ‘garba griha’ of the local Chowdeshwari temple. Kemparaju was hospitalised due to injuries, and a case has been foisted against him by the police. This incident is part of the social discrimination that Dalits face in this area.

Read the Preliminary report HERE

|Fact Finding Report| – Manual Scavenger Deaths – Tiptur and Dharwar

April 12, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Fact Finding Report| – Manual Scavenger Deaths – Tiptur and Dharwar
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities 
  • A Fact-finding Report on the Deaths of 2 Manhole Workers in Tiptur {Available HERE}
    On 18.12.2011, Jagdish Bin Manjashetty, resident of KB Hala village, Lakki Hobli, Chikmaglur district, and Dharma, resident of Kennere village, Arsikere taluk, Hasan district, labourers in a UGD project in Tiptur, Tumkur district, were working in a newly constructed manhole on the by-pass road from KSRTC bus stand towards Tumkur, and died reportedly due to suffocation. This matter was reported in Kannada Prabha, Prajavani, and  Prajapragati. [Report HERE]
  • Death by Suffocation of Yakob Yalakapati in an Underground Drain in the Tolnaka Area of Dharwar: A PUCL Fact-finding Report [Available HERE]
    On 16.2.2012, Yakob Yalakapati, resident of Jannathanagar, Dharwar, and permanent powrakarmika, died while working in an underground sewage drain. When we received a telephonic communication regarding this matter, PUCL appointed a fact-finding team consisting of TKDayanand, Vijay Guntral, and S. Raghupathi to investigate this case.
    [Report HERE]

|Preliminary Report| Death of Kitta Koraga, Safai Karamchari in Kinnigoli

November 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Report 

Download the Report HERE

In yet another tragic incident of death by manual scavenging in Karnataka, Shri Kitta Koraga, 45 years old, succumbed to asphyxiation while engaged in cleaning a soak pit in Kinnigoli town, Dakshina Kannada district on 6.11.11. On 7.11.11, PUCL, Bangalore, was contacted by Shri Balraj, member of Koragara Abhivrudda Sanghada Okkoota, a community-based organization devoted to the welfare of the Koraga community in Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada districts. Accordingly, a 2-member team of PUCL was formed, consisting of Ramdas and Raghupathi, both members of PUCL Bangalore, to visit Kinnigolli and do a fact-finding investigation of the incident.

Read the Preliminary Report HERE

Press Release – Police Crackdown on Hijras


PUCL, Bangalore, strongly condemns the call by city’s new police commissioner JP Mirji to target and crackdown on Bangalore’s Hijra community authorising mass arrests for creating public nuisance and under the Karnataka beggary Act. Criminalising either poverty or sexuality of a community are against the fundamental rights and freedoms constitutionally guaranteed and are far out of proportion with the nature of offense considered. Police force, by construction, should see itself, above all, as facilitators to adherence of constitutional values on matters of individual freedoms and cannot indulge in excesses under any subsidiary act that violates the above principals. In the case of the Hijra community, PUCL, via its work, is very aware of the social exclusion and boycotting faced by this marginalised community that perforce requires the community members to solicit as a primary livelihood means. We urge Mr. PJ Mirji to immediately halt the proposed unleashing of police repressions on a community that is already largely ostracised.


Arati Chokshi
General Secretary
PUCL – Bangalore Chapter

Ref: http://www.bangaloremirror.com/article/1/2011051320110513001823509858f13d0/Top-cop-gives-his-men-three-days-to-put-an-end-to-eunuch-menace-.html

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