Bengaluru: Rally in defence of Freedom of Expression on November 26

A massive rally and convention has been organized in Bengaluru on 26th November 2021 (Friday) to defend citizens’ right to freedom of speech and expression and to condemn the ongoing attacks on popular Music Director Hamsalekha.

The Samvidhana Samrakshana Aikyata Samiti – Karnataka has organized the rally on November 26th that marks Constitution Day, also known as National Law Day.

Organizers said that the Samvidhana Samrakshana Aikyata Samiti – Karnataka has organized the rally and convention in support of the popular Kannada Music Director, Hamsalekha’s statements while condemning the Brahminical assault on freedom of speech and expression provided by the Constitution of India. The rally will be flagged off from Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway station at 11.00 AM on November 26th and head to Freedom Park. The organizers have urged people who stand with Hamsalekha to come to the state’s capital.

Commenting on the same,littérateur LN Mukundaraju opined that, ” When we observe the verbal assault that has continued even after the veteran music director Hamsalekha apologized and complaints being lodged in this regard, we can understand that there lies a threat to individual liberty in our country”.

He continued, “Not only an individual’s liberty but also the democracy and the constitution of our country is under threat. It seems that Dalits, shudras, and women will no longer be free in this country. We need to wake up and take up the fight”.

“Thousands of people will participate in the protest tomorrow. They will carry their lunch baskets from their homes and have them together. If it’s meat, that would be even better. I request everyone to join the protest rally and convention. Join in, to save the country, to save the Constitution. Let us pass on the ideas of Ambedkar, Buddha, Basava, Gandhi and Kuvempu to the next generation. Let us protect the freedom, dignity, and respect of this country ” he requested.

“Everybody should carry one umbrella and their own lunch basket because there are predictions of rains tomorrow. The advice of the elders has been to inaugurate and resist these attacks through the mass meal program. Let us all follow these conventions. We request all organizations and all intelligentsia to voluntarily cooperate for the state-level rally on November 26, to create and distribute posters in support of the rally voluntarily in the name of their organizations” he said.

The Context: 

In an awards function organized at the Mysore University, popular music director Hamsalekha had earlier criticized and challenged late seer Vishwesha Theertha Swami’s ideas of overcoming caste barriers. Referring to the late seer’s initiatives to visit Dalit colonies, Hamsalekha had said, “Pejawar Swamy has gone to stay at a Dalit person’s house. This is a statement. He had gone and sat there but can he eat chicken if they give it to him? They will fry up sheep’s blood and serve it, can he eat it? They will serve liver, can he eat it? No. So I felt what is the big deal of him going to a Dalit person’s house.”

Soon after, in regard to the statement he had made, Hamsalekha did apologize publicly on a video that had been shared widely on social media. However, certain groups in the state continued their concerted social media attack on not just Hamsalekha but led a campaign wherein derogatory remarks were made about meat-eaters along with pictures and videos of meat even after the music director had issued an apology. Also, the meat-eaters were depicted as demons.

In response to the derogatory comments on meat-eaters and the thoughts of banning meat being slowly legitimized in the public fora, a campaign with the hashtag #ಮಾಂಸವೇನಮ್ಮನೆದ್ಯಾವ್ರು ಮತ್ತು #ಬಾಡೇನಮ್ಗಾಡು, translated as #Meat_is_our_God was organized over the last week to stand in solidarity with the meat-eaters.

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