Congress will review regressive laws passed by BJP in Karnataka, says Priyank Kharge
Revision of school textbooks and laws against conversion and cow slaughter were among the decisions that were under the scanner, the minister said.
Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge on Wednesday said that the Congress government will review regressive decisions of the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government such as revision of school textbooks and laws against conversion and cow slaughter, reported The Indian Express.
During the BJP’s tenure, Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar was allegedly glorified in a Class 8 Kannada textbook. The erstwhile administration had also decided to paint government school classrooms in saffron, a colour often associated with Hindutva. The Basavaraj Bommai government also passed a law against forced conversion which had provisions of longer jail term than in such legislation in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP government also extended the ambit of the state’s cattle slaughter law to ban the killing of bulls, bullocks, oxen and calves – a decision that hit the livelihoods of those in the beef trade who were e already facing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, Kharge wrote in a tweet that the Congress government will revisit all laws that are unconstitutional, violates rights or deters investment in the state.
Without making a direct reference to the ban on hijab in Karnataka’s educational institutions, the minister said that the government will look into the legal aspect of the decision. “There is data to show that nearly 18,000 students are left out of schools because of a certain order,” he said, according to The Indian Express.
The BJP government in Karnataka had imposed a ban on clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order” in educational instructions, effectively prohibiting Muslim students from wearing hijab.
Six girl students from the Udupi college challenged the order in the Karnataka High Court, but the ban was upheld. The judgement was then challenged before the Supreme Court, which delivered a split verdict in October. A two-judge bench said that the matter will be placed before the chief justice for his directions on the future course of action. The Supreme Court has not yet formed a bench to hear the matter.
In its manifesto for the Karnataka elections, Congress had announced that within a year it would repeal “historical revisionism” and “unjust laws and other anti-people laws” passed by the BJP government. The Siddaramaiah-led government has already put on hold works sanctioned by the BJP government across all departments and agencies.
The party had also promised to take a “firm and decisive” against Hindutva group Bajrang Dal and Islamic outfit Popular Front of India, saying they promote enmity and hatred among communities. On Wednesday, Kharge reiterated the Congress government’s commitment that it will act against these groups, reported Deccan Herald.