Bengaluru, Jan 26: A group of 34 people, including writers, academicians, scientists, environmentalists and artists, among others, have written a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and legislators expressing concern over what they called deteriorating governance and frequent violence against religious minorities in the State.

The signatories of the letter include historians Ramachandra Guha and Prof. Janaki Nair; environmentalists Nagesh Hegde, Almitra Patel; sociologists A R Vasavi and Prof. Satish Deshpande; scientists Prof. Sharadchandra Lele, Prof. Vinod Gaur and Prof. Vidyanand Nanjundiah; writers Vivek Shanbhag, Purushottam Bilimale and K P Suresha, and activist Bezwada Wilson, among others.

They have said that in the last few months, the State has witnessed brutal killings in several districts, hate speeches, threats and attacks on places of worship belonging to religious minorities, honour killings, moral policing, misogynistic statements by legislators, and incidents of hostility and discord between religious groups.

"Un-constitutional statements made by legislators and the inability of the State machinery to rein in anti-social groups have encouraged such incidents," they have stated.

Stating that such incidents have put a blot on the long history of Karnataka as a progressive State, which always facilitated social harmony of a plural society, the signatories said it is now losing its identity on multiple fronts. "On the financial, administrative, and political fronts, Karnataka is losing its federal strength."

Further pointing at recent legislations such as the cow protection' and anti-conversion' Acts, they said they are anti-minority and infringes on the economic and cultural rights of religious minorities. "No longer are harmony, peace, and tolerance the hallmarks of the State."

Warning that if these issues are not addressed Karnataka's reputation as a destination for investment and industries might also get affected, they said economic activities can thrive when there is social harmony and cordial atmosphere .

Urging the Chief Minister and the legislators to seriously review these negative incidents in the State and to ensure that the rule of law, the principles of the Constitution, the rights of citizens, and the basic sense of humanity is re-established, the signatories said, your abilities to address these challenges will be the yardstick that will assess you in the future."

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New Delhi(PTI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao said the trial is not going to be completed anytime soon.

"The allegation made against the petitioner is that she planned the murder in view of the live in relationship of her daughter with Rahul Mukerjea, who was the son of Peter Mukerjea and his earlier wife," the bench said.

"We are not making comments on the merits of the case. Even if 50 per cent witnesses are given by prosecution, the trial would not be over soon. She will be released on bail subject to satisfaction of the trial court. The same conditions imposed on Peter Mukerjea will also be imposed on her," the bench also comprising Justices B R Gavai and A S Bopanna said.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Indrani Mukerjea, who is currently lodged at the Byculla women's prison in Mumbai following her arrest in August 2015.

Rohatgi submitted that the trial is not going to complete anytime soon as a large number of witnesses are yet to be examined. She had been denied bail on multiple occasions by a special CBI court, which is conducting the trial in the murder case.

Bora (24) was allegedly strangled to death in a car by Indrani Mukerjea, her then driver Shyamvar Rai and former husband Sanjeev Khanna in April 2012. The body was burnt in a forest in neighbouring Raigad district.

Bora was Indrani's daughter from her previous relationship.

Former media baron Peter Mukerjea was also arrested for allegedly being part of the conspiracy. He was granted bail by the high court in February 2020.His marriage to Indrani Mukerjea ended during the period of incarceration.