Wednesday, September 7, 2022

No Amrit Kaal for India’s Daughters!

Addressing the Nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on the occasion Independence Day Prime Minister Modi said, India has entered the ‘Amrit Kaal’ and we should all work towards Viksit (developed) Bharat. In his speech he called for a change of mentality towards women, Pride of Nari Shakti, women’s role in fulfilling dreams of India, not to lower the dignity of women, and how he sees immense contribution by women in 25 years to come, much more than that in the 75-yr journey. 

While the 15th August live telecast of PM Modi speech was watched by millions of Indians, 11 convicted Rapists of Bilkis Banu walked free out of Godhra Jail following Gujarat Government’s decision after a panel (10-member panel in which 5 were from BJP) approved their application for remission, notable on the day India completed 75 years as Independent Nation. 

On March 03 2002 then 19 years old Bilkis Banu who was pregnant, her mother, three other women were brutally gang raped and repeatedly assaulted. Out of 17 family members 8 were found dead without heads, 6 missing, only Bilkis Banu, a man and 3 yrs old child survived the inhumane and horrific assault. 

After 6 years of fight for justice against all the powers and struggles in January 2008, special court convicted all the 11 accused of rape a pregnant woman, murder of her family members. In May 2017, the Bombay High Court upheld the life imprisonment of 11 people in the gangrape case thereby giving justice to Bilkis Banu after her 15 years long brave legal battle against all odds.

The act of release of these perpetrators of an inhuman and heinous crime on our Independence Day, followed by a grand welcome by the Hindutva groups, BJP MLA calling the rapists and murderers who do not deserve a place in any civilized society as ‘Sanskari Brahmins’ raises question on what really is the ‘Amrit Kaal’ that PM Modi referred to in his long speech. 

Nation stood with one voice demanding rigorous punishment even hanging the rapist to death when Nirbhaya was brutally raped and thrown out of the bus in Delhi. India cheered ‘Instant Justice’ when rapists of Priyanka Reddy were shot dead by the Telangana Police, ironically release of 11 rapists of Bilkis Banu and murderers of her family members goes against the very anger India had expressed against the rapists of its daughters.

Bilkis Banu’s statement after the release of her rapists urging Gujarat Government to ‘undo the harm’, reflected in the sentiments and voices of millions of Mothers, Daughters, Rights Activists, Civil Societies across the country. Bilkis Banu’s fear & grief was evident when she said, “Today, I can say only this - how can justice for any woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma.” 

So, No Amrit Kaal for India’s Daughters? Is Bilkis Banu Not India’s Daughter? PM Modi and his Government observed the ‘Muslim Women Rights Day’ across the nation on August 1 to celebrate enactment of Triple Talaq Law, but served a triple blow to Bilkis Banu who fought a long battle bravely to get justice. Is, Muslim Women Rights not applicable for Bilkis Banu because her rapists are ‘Sanskari Brahmins’? 

135 Ex-IAS Officers wrote to Chief Justice of India stating that release of the 11 rapists is a horrendous and erroneous decision by Gujarat Government, urging the Supreme Court to rectify the wrong decision. Based on PIL filed, the Supreme Court has served a notice to Gujarat Government seeking explanation on the release of the 11 rapists. And in the ‘Amrit Kaal’ India’s Daughters await to know if justice will be served based on Caste and Religion or based on Crime committed and Constitution.

- Kavitha Reddy, Green Activist & KPCC General Secretary (views expressed are personal)

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Kavitha Reddy For Bommanahalli

Agara Lake, Lakes are core to sphere of work for Kavitha Reddy, bringing different Citizen Groups to a single platform for campaign to Save Agara Lake is how it all started. As Founder Member of Agara Lake Protection & Management Society (ALPMS) she worked extensively for over several years to Save, Revive, Restore and Conserve the Lake. With regular interactions with LDA, Forest Dept, GoK, KSPCB and NGT the Lake was finally revived by January 2018 and she continued to play an active role in the upkeep of the Lake, till it was thoughtlessly handover to BBMP from Forest Dept leading to deterioration of maintenance, but continues to represent the Court Case in HC to Save the Lake from Privatization claim.    

Agara Lake STP, when vested interests wanted to force construction of an STP inside the Agara Lake premises using the Hon High Court general order on STPs, Kavitha Reddy raised objections with facts and reasoning opposing construction of STP with several Departments and with the then Government, she also fought Legally to shift the STP outside Agara Lake providing alternate option. Kavitha Reddy's relentless effort to save Agara Lake from an unwanted STP inside the premises finally gained momentum and STP was shifted out of the Lake to an alternate place from where the treated water could be directed into Agara Lake. She was instrumental in identifying of an existing pipeline from STP to Lake there by saving Public Money and also ensuring a proper discharge of treated water into the Lake. 

HaSiRu Mithra, Kavitha Reddy Co-Founded HaSiRu Mithra along with likeminded Citizens and undertook several Awareness Campaigns and provided Solutions to several Civic Issues, it was funded via Kaagaz Foundation, Civic Hub and Citizens. Some of the key initiatives includes - 17 Composting Workshops in BBMP Parks, 19 Clean-up Drives & Spot Fixing, SWM Awareness Campaigns. Kavitha Reddy also spearheaded the most successful #PotholePooje, campaigns against Potholes and #KillBills a campaign against Banners/Flex and Visual Pollution that became City wide movement and eventually lead to ban of Banners/Flex in BBMP Limits. 

Shutdown KCDC Movement, Compost Unit that has become a serious Health Hazard for the Citizens living in HSR Layout, Mangamanapalya, Somasundrapalya, Haraluru and surrounding areas also has been Polluting Lake and Ground Water. Kavitha Reddy was part of this Citizen Movement against KCDC, was instrumental in getting the then Chief Minister of Karnataka to visit the Compost Unit, initially she was part of the Citizens - KCDC coordination Committee to improve the conditions of the Compost Unit, since no improvement happened, she continues to be a strong voice in demanding the Shutdown of KCDC. 

Somasundrapalya Lake, Kavitha Reddy got involved in the KCDC Movement in the context of Somasundrapalya Lake, the Lake was almost on its death bed. Kavitha Reddy successfully got the Lake shifted from BDA to BBMP Lakes Division through ACS UDD, ensured removal of encroachments by a builder via CM's Office instructions, construction of outlets and drains, raising the concerns and need for revival of the Lake. Currently the Lake is under a prolonged revival, and she has stayed out of this due to extreme Political interference. 

Green Project, as a Green Activist Kavitha Reddy has promoted Tree Plantation on a regular basis in Haraluru Lake, Agara Lake, Parks, Government Schools & Colleges. Creating 300+ Sapling Mini-Forest and maintaining this triangular Mini-Forest since 2014 is one of her Flagship Project. 

Project Karanji, as part of Project Karanji Kavitha Reddy through her NGO Kaagaz Foundation has been working with Government Schools, Colleges and Anganwadis on various educational initiatives in Bommanahalli Constituency. Some of the regular programs include Child Safety & Rights Workshops, Women Safety Workshops, Green Ambassador Program, Clean Drinking Water Project, Health Camps, Providing Teaching & Learning Tools etc. 

Protecting Livelihood, Street Vendors (SVs) of Bengaluru were deprived of Right to Livelihood under the Street Vendor Act 2014 (SVA), facilitated meetings for the SVs Associations with CM, Mayor, ACS, BBMP Officials and brought to their notice that the SVs were also deprived of the Govt Benefits since they were not given ID Cards under the SVA 2014. After a prolonged process a survey and registration of the SVs in Bengaluru was announced followed by the issue of ID Cards.   

COVID19 Relief Work, Pandemic brought lives of many especially the less privileged to a standstill, during 1st and 2nd Wave via Kaagaz Foundation Kavitha Reddy initiated a #Meal_a_Day Program, distribution of Ration Kits, Medical Kits to help the people in Bommanahalli and surrounding areas. Over 80000 Food Packets were distributed over 50 days and 94500 Kg Ration given out to over 18100 Beneficiaries covering Migrants, LGBTQs, Auto/Cab Drivers, Street Vendor, Domestic Helps, SHGs, Park & Lake Staff, Health Care Workers and several other venerable communities. 

Fixing Civic Problems, as a concerned Citizen Kavitha Reddy resolves several Civic issues in the locality on a daily basis, raising issues and following to resolution related to SWD, Roads, Potholes, Traffic, Garbage, Junction Improvement, Road Access, Commercialization, Mobility Project etc., she also uses her Social Media access to bring to the notice of the Authorities many issues and ensured it is followed up to resolution. As Citizen Journalist she has also written/reported extensively about the Civic issues taking it to logical conclusion. 

Citizen Services, Kavitha Reddy's Office have been helping Citizens to get their Sr Citizen Cards, Voter Registration, Labour Cards, Pensions and other Govt Benefits for the eligible Citizens Free of any Service Charges. Over 12000 Citizens from Bommanahalli Constituency and parts of Mahadevapura Constituency have availed the Services. 

For more visit

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

My Voice: Women Representation


KR FB Page - Coverage

News 18 - Coverage Coverage 2 

She The People - Coverage 

Republic - Coverage 

Suvarna - Coverage Coverage

NDTV - Coverage

Namma News - Coverage 

Hindustan Times - Coverage

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Transparency & Accountability: Buffering

The suicide of a young contractor Santosh Patil due to nonpayment of bills by K S Eshwarappa Ministry demanding commission on a verbally approved works is a classic case of institutionalized corruption, and of lack of transparency in not only procurement process but also in the administration, and this has not happened for the first time but the long kept dirty secret stands exposed finally. 

To ensure transparency, accountability, grievance redressal and to regulate public procurement United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government had brought in the Public Procurement Bill in Lok Sabha in 2012, the Bill lapsed eventually. National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government introduced the revamped and improvised the provisions in the Bill and introduced it in 2015, but sadly the Bill has not been a reality till date. 

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Assam are the only States which to some extent have regulated public procurement, but a weak grievance redress mechanisms in these State Acts raises several questions on efficacy. 

NDA Government that came to power on the anti-corruption plank with an overwhelming majority in 2014, but its almost 8 years and there have been no efforts to stop the corruption that is infecting the administration faster than ever before. RTI the strongest tool to seek information and demand transparency in administration process has been weakened since 2014, millions of applications laying unprocessed as left the RTI in crossroads. Lokpal almost seems nonexistence and Lokayuktya in States like Karnataka are striped off the power and systematically destroyed. 

The whataboutery on corruption and systematic dilution of the institutional powers is only helping the people involved in corruption to brazen it out without fear of Law, whereas people like Santosh Patil will continue to become victims of the system driven corruption. 

Media is muted on several people related issue be it Unemployment, Price Rise, Violence, Disharmony, Corruption, the current dispensation both in Delhi and in Karnataka are yet again on polarization mode as the Assembly elections get closer.

Series of corruption charges during COVID 1st and 2nd wave are not even investigated, even with clear evidence on the infamous BBMP Bed Scam not a single arrest have been made nor there is any serious investigation. After Ramesh Jarkiholi who was forced to resign due to the CD episode, K S Eshwarappa reluctantly resigned after relentless protest by the opposition that forced the BJP high command in Delhi to do damage control. But the bigger question remain unanswered, will there be a free and fair investigation on the charges made by Santosh Patil and also will there be a larger probe on the 40% Commission allegation made by the Contractors Association of Karnataka against the State BJP Government. 

Lokayukta in Karnataka was once the most feared institution by Politicians and Government Officials, but today most do not even know if the institution still exists, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) that was established to gather information, intelligence and to investigate complaints from Public, Government and Lokayukta looks like a paper Tiger. 

Without stringent Act, subverting and misuse of the system has made it easy for the fearless corrupt, there is no Political will to fix the loop holes and strengthen the system, even as technology is making several innovations the systems seem to be literally insulated from use of any technology interface that can bring more transparency and accountability. 

Definitely corruption is making States like Karnataka extremely unpopular for investors and corporates, with polarization taking centerstage and corruption filled administration it’s only the ordinary people, youth who are suffering both the short and long term implications. 

Kavitha Reddy

KPCC General Secretary & Spokesperson

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Karnataka in Crossroads

Sarva Janangada Shantiya Thota, Peaceful Garden of all Religions is how Karnataka is described by one of the greatest poet Kuvempu in a poem which was declared as State Song in 2004.
Karnataka’s tourism tagline, One State Many Worlds truly reflecting State’s unique Diversity from Bidar to Kodagu and Ballari to Karwar not only geographically but also socially, culturally and politically. Education Hub, State of PSUs and a Peaceful State is how Karnataka has always been known, Bengaluru the Capital City is a Global name for its IT Industry, ‘Bangalored’ is a word that was coined to describe Bengaluru as the Back Office of the World.
Pre-British and the British history of Karnataka not only reflects the peaceful co-existence of various religions but also has documented as highly Progressive and Liberal region. Politically Karnataka has been in the forefront leading agenda for the entire Nation on Development and Social Welfare. After thousands of years of co-existence of various communities today Karnataka is being challenged, Hijab to Halal to Azaan the aggressive Hindutva Politics that has made strong inroads in the coastal areas is shaking the belief of the State Song.
Karnataka is considered as a gateway to Hindutva Politics in South of India, even though BJP formed the Government more than once and gave maximum seats to BJP in the Lok Sabha elections the Secular fabric of the State has remained intact that has indeed stalled the Hindutva Politics reaching down South.
Declaring Harsha, a known criminal who was killed due to personal reasons as a martyr and linking every unfortunate incident to Hindu – Muslim conflict is hurting Brand Karnataka more than ever. IT Industry and MNCs that made Karnataka its prime center of operations always viewed Karnataka not only politically stable but as a pro-business State, but the raising communal narrative of Hindutva Politics is ringing alarm bells in the corporate world too. What is worrisome is that the communal hate is not limited to the Hindutva propaganda fringe groups, Ministers, Sr Leaders and Office Bearers of BJP are now speaking the language of the fringe blurring the lines between the fringe and mainstream statements.
Current BJP Government is one of the most corrupt and incompetent Government in the history of the State. Over 46000 children have not returned to school’s post COVID, malnutrition is the highest in comparison for the last 10 years, raising unemployment rate, environment degradation, crumbling infrastructure, price rise, Farmer distress, increasing violence, corruption, 40% commission allegations, poverty, subverting of the Constitution, passing of the laws/bills without debates and discussions are surely indicators of failing Administration. Yet the hate filled communal agenda of Hindutva Polities is propagated 24/7 through various media platforms over shadowing the real issues of common people of the State.
Extreme polarization has worked well for BJP, even at the peak of serious issues that hurt the common people and the youth of the Nation, the 80:20 slogan worked in favor of BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Karnataka will be going for Election in May 2023, there are elections in few other States in 2022 and BJP will ensure they will leave no polarization stone unturned even here.
So far people of Karnataka have reacted sharply against the polarization tactics of BJP, but what lies ahead only time will tell. Lack of a strong narrative by the opposition in Karnataka is definitely helping the Hindutva Politics to spread disharmony at ease. If it smells mud, it means rains have arrived, if it smells Tar, it means elections have arrived, and if it smells burn it means polarization is complete.
Only hope is that peace loving people of Karnataka will not be fall for the Hate spreading project of Hindutva Politics.
Kavitha Reddy
Activist, AICC Member & KPCC Spokesperson
(views expressed are in personal capacity)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Hijab: Right of a Woman

Jog back into history shows that women are the sufferers in wars, social & cultural conflicts, Voice of women are suppressed, leave alone the freedom to express themselves and make choices. History holds true even today, when the Hijab controversy rocked the State of Karnataka it was the girls/women who were at the receiving end.

Karnataka over the last few years has seen a notable increase in Muslim girls enrolling for higher education. Paradigm shift in girls from Minority and Dalit communities joining the higher education system is desirable, encouraging and progressive too. On one hand government is promoting Beti Bachao Beti Padhao on the other it is letting loose the fringe elements to target girls for their traditional/cultural/religious choices seems like a well-planned political game to create distraction from real issues. 

For long, girls from Muslim community wearing a Hijab or boys from Sikh community wearing Turban or girls from Sikh community covering head with scarf and attending school or college was perfectly fine, until a college in Udupi in Karnataka decided to force the girls out of college for wearing Hijab. What was supposed to be a conversation between the college and the girls turned ugly as Hindutva brigade found a prefect occasion to push their political agenda, and the Revenue Minister of Govt of Karnataka went a step ahead to say that Hijab is a major poll issue for 2023. 

The choice of practicing a religion is a Constitutional Right that is guaranteed to everyone in India, when countries across the world are making Hijab and Turban part of uniform in their police force, armed forces, medical services to promote diversity and inclusiveness, the voices against the girls wearing Hijab in a college not only aimed to create divide in the society but also is a misplaced priority given that government schools and colleges are suffering from lack of quality infrastructure and teachers. 

Propaganda against Hijab in Karnataka is aggressively pushed by the Hindutva groups to raise communal tempers, but it goes far beyond the ugly communal motive, in reality it is a serious issue of Women Rights and Hindutva groups are always known to be anti-Women. 

The High Court in its interim order had specified that their interim order is only applicable for the colleges which has uniform and where CDC has prescribed a dress code. Visuals of colleges and schools forcing the young girls and even teachers to remove their Hijab outside school/college premises was not only violation of the High Court interim order but most importantly it striped away privacy and dignity of the girls/women in full public glare. 

Journalist chasing young girls with Hijab for a reaction and unruly mob of boys jeering girls who walked into the college premises wearing a Hijab proved yet again how unsafe girls/women when bigotry takes over. TV debates on Hijab were dominated by men from certain fringe groups who are known to be anti-women, screaming undignified and unjustified remarks and making a mockery of Women Rights. 

Break the Bias’ the theme of 2022 International Women’s Day seems more appropriate for Karnataka. Discrimination of women for their choices, identity and for who they are is unacceptable in any civilized society. Hijab is not only a personal choice it’s a matter of privacy of Muslim women. Whatever may be the argument Hijab is about Women Rights, and no Communal agenda should be tolerated when it comes to Rights. 

It is also reassuring to see the girls/women being assertive and unapologetic about who they are, as they continue to wear Hijab with Pride. “Hijab covers my Hair not my Brain”, a sharp reply to the preying media by a young Muslim girl reaffirms her determination to fight back for her Constitutional Rights. 

Humanity is the Greatest Faith, and no Religion in the world teaches Violence, Hate and Intolerance.  

Kavitha Reddy 

Activist, AICC Member & KPCC Spokesperson

(views expressed are in personal capacity)

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Buffering Bengaluru 2.0

Does Silicon Valley of India need a new version? Over 1.2 crore Bengalureans surviving traffic jams in 750 Sq Kms, the new BBMP Act that missed a golden opportunity to set a vision to make Bengaluru a Sustainable World class City, the failing BBMP Administration, unwillingness of the Government to empower BBMP as per the 74th Amendment, inability to stop MLAs interference in City Administration, deteriorating living conditions, yet we are Proud Bengalureans.

Bengalureans have always led the change, but a city that has a glorious History, unparallel Heritage, thriving Citizen Activism and cutting-edge Innovation has been struggling to revive its visionless City Administration.

Rampant Corruption, misuse of power by MLAs has left the City Finances in doldrums, and as the BBMP Elections approaches can Bengaluru really burst this bubble and bring in change remains an important question. No doubt that Bengaluru deserves Competent Corporators and Clean Administration, and this time it’s the Citizens turn to lead the Political Change.

Citizen Groups of Bengaluru have always fought for a Better City, Activists have been vocal about their demands for Bengaluru but none took a plunge to contest elections all these years, and now the trend is changing for Better.

Organizations like KHHSP RWA, White Field Rising, Right for Road, Citizens For Bengaluru, Hasiru Mithra, Change Makers Kanakapura Road and more active RWAs have been in the forefront of Citizen Activism not only questioning the Authorities for all the wrongs but also working with the Authorities to make the City Administration more accountable. 

Emergence of organizations like Bengaluru Political Action Committee (B.PAC) that have trained over 300 Civic Leaders under its flagship initiative BCLIP (B.PAC Civic Leadership Incubation Program) has created a huge pipeline of candidates that B.PAC and other Civic Organizations may find suitable to endorse for the future elections.

BCLIP objective has been to train and support talented individuals who wish to transform their city by contesting elections and getting elected as Corporators. Civic Leaders are equipped with Skills in Public Policy, Civic Administration and have the ability to bring in Transparency and Accountability into the system.

The Election that directly impact the daily lives of any Bengalurean are the BBMP Elections and its time Voters detached it from Assembly and Lok Shaba Elections frame and be clear about what they want for their Wards and City. For a Better City Administration, it’s the Competent Candidate and not the Party that should be on the top of the agenda of every Citizen or Voter.

The Quality of the Candidates fielded by the Political Parties have been deteriorating and it reflects in the City Administration. Proxies, Contractors, Criminals, Strong Men, Money Bags who lack commitment for the city nor have a Vision flood the City Council in each Elections, lack of quality candidates or alternates has always been the excuse for the Voters.

With more awareness about BBMP Election, need for more Citizen participation and the hope that a huge number of Civic Leaders and Activists are already preparing to contest in the BBMP Election, we can now hope Bengaluru 2.0 can be a reality if quality candidates reach the Council in 2022.

Kavitha Reddy
Activist, AICC Member & KPCC Spokesperson
(views expressed are in personal capacity)