BENGALURU: Communal polarisation in the coastal districts of Karnataka is almost complete, and has led to sharper societal divisions, an independent survey commissioned by a group of political analysts has found. A qualitative survey spread over four months, surveyed the coastal areas and found that communalisation is part of the social fabric here. This region has long been considered the Hindutva laboratory.
“Polarisation is working,” according to the analysts involved in the survey, taken up a little before the Hijab, Halal meat ban and other communal issues were raked up by vested interests in Karnataka. Most of the polarisation could be a result of communally sensitive issues raised in the media and on social media, especially WhatsApp.
The survey found that in Dakshina Kannada, more than 96 per cent among Hindus and 98 per cent among minorities are polarised, while in Udupi district, around 90 per cent of the population of either community is radicalised. In the Malnad belt of Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga and other parts, the sharply polarised number is much lower at about 85 to 70 per cent.
The survey also found out that the Congress had played into the “polarisation trap” laid out by vested interests -- the lack of maturity with which it dealt with communal issues on many occasions had resulted in an erosion in the party’s vote base in these polarised areas. The number of secular voters has shrunk in five or six constituencies.
By contrast, the social base of the JDS -- the Vokkaliga heartland of Old Mysore -- remained intact, especially in the districts of Tumakuru, Hassan, Mysuru, Mandya, Bengaluru Rural and Kolar, the survey found. Rajashekara S, one of the analysts who spent months on the field, told TNIE, “All these findings are from before the period when the Hijab and Halal issues was raised. Perhaps now, after so much polarisation, the results could be sharper and very different.’’
In such a charged atmosphere, many conscientious citizens who have been shaken by efforts to inject communal poison into the body politic, have made pleas to the people and also written letters to the authorities, urging them to contain the attempts to communalise Karnataka. With elections barely 10 months away, this could be one of the many surveys commissioned by different groups to find out the pulse of the voter.