Karnataka BJP MLC Adaguru Huchegowda Vishwanath on Monday, 25 April, said that the government does not belong to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and condemned the state government's inaction against those stirring communal tensions.
Alluding to Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, who had advocated the playing of bhajans on loudspeakers to 'counter' azan, Vishwanath said the “government’s inaction will send wrong signals to the people," The Indian Express reported.
“Who is Muthalik to dictate terms to the government and issue communally sensitive statements? It is a tragedy that the state government is not able to take action against such people. The government does not belong to the RSS or the VHP," he was quoted as saying.
The senior BJP leader had lamented the "sorry state of affairs" in Karnataka in March as well, when Muslim traders were refused stalls at Shivamogga's Kote Marikamba Jatra fair.
Questioning what would happen if Indian citizens working abroad in Muslim-majority nations were subjected to a similar boycott, he had said:
"No religion has said such things –to not include this or that person. The government must intervene. I don't know why the government is mum over this issue. Are they (Muslim traders) not Kannadigas? The Muslims of this country, when Pakistan and India were divided, they stayed back here. They didn't go away. We must think about it. The ones who stayed back in India are Indians."
"Muslims can't do business here, remove this and that hotel – what is this? Tch, tch. This is a sorry state of affairs. The government must take up this issue. Throw away your religion and your caste, if there is nothing to fill your stomach, what will you look for?" the MLC had stated at the time.
Vishwanath is a former Congress minister and ex-state president of JD(S), who had switched to the BJP in 2019.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)