Mangaluru: There was a 34 per cent fall in communal trouble in the state's coastal districts in 2018 when compared to previous years, according to the Karnataka Komu Sauhardha Vedike (KKSV) of Dakshina Kannada (DK).
While the coastal districts saw 85 communal incidents last year, they recorded 125 in 2017 and 104 in 2016. But the lowest number recorded in the last eight years was 73 in 2010, says the Vedike's DK district unit president, Suresh Bhat.
Interestingly, although communal incidents like cattle vigilantism, and moral policing showed a downward trend, hate speech and messages on social media saw a sharp rise in the last year.
"There was also a significant rise in the number of communal incidents in the twin districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi just before and during the course of the last election campaign. The object was to harvest votes through polarisation on communal lines," Mr Bhat maintains.
He believes the fall in the number of communal incidents in 2018 is related to the BJP's unprecedented success in the 2018 state assembly elections on the coast.
"If we study the past carefully, when the Yeddyurappa government was in power in the state, the number of communal incidents was lowest in 2010. This is in keeping with the strategy of the Sangh Parivar to lie low and keep the pot simmering while it is part of a ruling alliance or when a large majority of local MLAs and MPs belong to the BJP. As BJP MLAs are in a majority in DK and Udupi districts currently, they want to avoid negative publicity," he claims.
But Mr Bhat warns that the fall in communal incidents could be temporary. "With the Lok Sabha elections less than four months away a desperate Sangh is now openly resorting to its age old tactic of playing the Hindutva and caste cards," he alleges.