Minister of State for Skill Development Anantkumar Hegde kicked up another controversy by mocking secularism and describing secular people as "those who do not have an identity of their parental blood,” in a speech on 24 December.
Hegde remarked that elected leaders would go to any lengths in changing the Constitution.
Those claiming to be secular and progressive do not have an identity of their parents and their blood. One will get self-respect through such identity. I will be happy if someone identifies as Muslim, Christian, Brahmin, Lingayat, or Hindu. But trouble will arise if they say they are secular.Anantkumar Hegde
Hegde was speaking at a function organised by the Brahmana Yuva Parishat and women’s organisation at Kukkanur in Koppal district on Sunday, 24 December.
He urged people to identify themselves by their religion and caste rather than promote secularism.
I respect the constitution but the constitution has changed according to the times on many occasions in the past and it will change in the future. We are here to change the Constitution.Anantkumar Hegde
His comments drew sharp criticism from both opposition leaders and groups of progressive thinkers in different parts of the state. Members of the Students’ Federation of India staged a protest in Koppal condemning the comments.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also criticised Hegde’s remarks. Reacting to Hegde’s comments, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the Union minister did not respect the Constitution.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Siddaramaiah said:
I do not want to stoop to his (Hegde’s) level. We know our language and culture. He is a Union minister, but spits venom.Siddaramaiah
Hegde, who has been part of the contingent of leaders leading the BJP’s state-wide Parivartana Yatra, is no stranger to controversy.
In a speech on 13 November in the Parivartana Yatra in Kundapur, Karnataka, the BJP leader had sarcastically suggested that the Congress government will soon start celebrating terrorists like Ajmal Kasab and Osama Bin Laden.
‘Today, they will celebrate Tipu Jayanti, then Hyder Ali, then Afzal Guru, Ajmal Kasab and Bin Laden.’Anantkumar Hegde
In 2016, Hegde had reportedly told mediapersons that there will be terrorism in the world as long as Islam exists. “Until we eradicate Islam from the world we will not be able to eliminate terrorism from the world. Islam is a bomb placed to disrupt world peace. As long as there is Islam there will be no peace in the world,” he was quoted as saying.
(This story was originally published on The News Minute and has been republished here with permission)
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