In a bid to highlight incidents of communal violence in Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to launch a yatra in communally sensitive parts of the state. Divided into two groups, BJP leaders will undertake a padayatra- 'Karnataka Suraksha Yatra'- from Kushalnagara and Ankola simultaneously.
Similar to the padayatra that the party undertook in Kerala against political killings, Karnataka Suraksha Yatra is aimed at highlighting the party's opposition to killings of purported Hindu activists ahead of Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018. The BJP has alleged that more than 24 Sangh/Hindu activists have been murdered during the Siddaramaiah regime- a claim that the Congress has vehemently opposed.
Karnataka Suraksha Yatra is BJP's two-pronged padayatra spread over four days, starting March 3, 2018, and will conclude on March 6, 2018, at Suratkal. Incidentally, Suratkal saw the murder of Deepak Rao- a Bajrang activist. Basheer, a trader was murdered in retaliation adding to the number of communal incidents in coastal Karnataka.
Karnataka Suraksha yatra will include public meetings as well as padayatra along the route. While the first group is scheduled to begin the yatra at Ankola, the yatra will pass through Kumta, Honnavar, Bhatkal, Byndoor, Kundapura, Udupi, Kapu, Mulki and conclude at Suratkal.
The second Yatra, which will also begin on March 3, 2018, will pass through Kushalnagar, Madikeri, Suliya, Puttur, Kalladka, Bantwal, Mangaluru before converging with the first group in Suratkal. The BJP has carefully picked coastal Karnataka and Kodagu- two regions that have witnessed communal clashes over the last five years. The yatra is likely to further the Hindutva agenda being pushed by BJP leaders in Karnataka ahead of the assembly elections.