Karnataka Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, KS Eshwarappa on Wednesday, 9 February, said that a day will come when saffron flag will be hoisted atop the Red Fort.
Speaking to reporters on the hijab row that has snowballed into a major crisis in the state as Hindu students are coming to colleges wearing saffron shawls in protest, Eshwarappa further said that the saffron flag might become the national flag of our nation.
"We will hoist the saffron flag on any flag post. Those who have sense must respect it. Earlier, people used to laugh when we said a Shri Ram temple would be built in Ayodhya, haven't we built the temple at Ayodhya now?" Eshwarappa asked.
"We will hoist the saffron flag at any given place in the world. It is our wish to be cladding in saffron shawls," he said.
Reacting to allegations by Congress state President DK Shivakumar that saffron shawls are being distributed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he rebutted asking what is wrong in distributing saffron shawls? Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar feel insecure when they hear about saffron, he claimed.
"Is it possible to go to Christian schools without uniforms? Shivakumar must answer this. I am ready to distribute saffron shawls. I am in independent India. Who is he to question my liberty? I have not distributed saffron shawls. If at all I distribute them, what's wrong in it?" he asked.
Training his guns at Kaneez Fathima, the Congress MLA who said that she will attend the session in hijab and if at all anyone has strength, let them stop her, Eshwarappa dared her to go to mosque.
"We have not said that she will be arrested if she wears a hijab in the assembly," he said.
The statements have stirred a controversy in Karnataka. Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has condemned his statement and said that it is not easy to replace the Tricolour.
"It represents all states. No one can bring down the Tricolor flag. Don't use children for politics," he said.
Hijab row first surfaced in Udupi district of Karnataka last month when some Muslim girls demanded entry to classrooms wearing hijab.
The issue has now turned into a major crisis in the state. The Karnataka High Court has referred the case to a larger bench and no interim order has been passed so far. The protests due to hijab row have turned violent and prohibitory orders have been given in several districts of the state.
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