Bengaluru: Several activists have been slammed by the ruling camp in the recent past, but calling a centenarian freedom fighter a fake one and a Pakistani agent may have taken things a little too far.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal remains defiant despite evoking much wrath for calling noted Gandhian Harohalli Srinivasaiah Doreswamy a fake freedom fighter.
A number of BJP leaders have expressed their anger at Yatnal's comments with spokesperson and party general secretary N Ravikumar stating that the party has a lot of respect for Doreswamy, though he may be biased on the CAA issue.
Yatnal also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were only waiting for US President Donald Trump to leave the nation before they could take some decisive action against those who speak ill of the country. He said this while responding to questions on the violence that has erupted in parts of Delhi.
Ravikumar said he would discuss the issue of Yatnal’s statements within the party and accordingly, a decision would be taken.
Asked if Yatnal is turning out to be Karnataka's Kapil Mishra (BJP leader in Delhi against whom the high court has asked police to file an FIR for his provocative statements), Ravikumar said the MLA has been told not to make such comments that embarrass the party.
"We have asked Yatnal on several occasions to refrain from making controversial statements. We have given such advice to a few others too like MP Ananth Kumar Hegde. But maybe he is just too tempted to say such things as they make 'breaking news.' We will discuss with the party president and take action accordingly."
On Wednesday, the Vijayapura MLA continued his tirade against 101-year-old Doreswamy, who had recently taken part in a ‘satyagraha’ (peace rally) against the amended Citizenship Act that seeks to expedite the citizenship process of non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
"There is no question of taking back my words on HS Doreswamy. His deeds are proof of what kind of a person he is. He is nothing but a mouth-piece of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S)," Yatnal said, adding he would not apologise for his remarks.
The MLA said had Doreswamy truly endorsed Gandhian values, he would have issued a statement against Amulya Leona, the student activist who recently raised ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans at an anti-CAA rally.
“Why has Doreswamy not made any statement against Amulya (Leona) who was arrested for raising 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans or against anti-CAA protesters or condemn them? Mahatma Gandhi had said that if Hindus are harassed in Pakistan, they should be given Indian citizenship, then why isn't he endorsing these values? How can he call himself a Gandhian,” Yatnal told reporters on Wednesday.
The Congress held a flash protest at the Gandhi statue in Vidhana Soudha during the day and demanded Yatnal’s arrest. Led by former chief minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah, the Congress workers held the demonstration at the state secretariat, demanded that the assembly membership of Yatnal be revoked.
Senior Congress leaders, including state unit working president Eshwar Khandre, G Parameshwara, Ramesh Kumar, KB Koliwad and legislators participated in the protest holding placards against Yatnal.
Siddaramaiah said Yatnal was unfit to be a legislator. "He has no quality to remain as an MLA. They (Yatnal and BJP) belong to the Sangh Parivar, and they never fought any freedom struggle, none of them ever fought for freedom." he said.
He also urged Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to initiate action against the MLA or else endorse his (Yatnal's) views as that of the government.
Earlier, Siddaramaiah urged the CM to keep in mind the "uncontrollable" situation in Delhi. "A major trouble is awaiting, if you don't control hate speeches," the Congress leader wrote on Twitter.
Yatnal said the Congress leadership has no moral right to condemn his statements and asked the latter to instead protest against pro-Pakistan voices in India. The MLA said those who speak in favour of Pakistan must be sent to 'Jannat’ (heaven). He had earlier called for shoot-at-sight orders against anti-nationals.
‘PM Modi, HM Shah Were Waiting for Trump to Depart’
Regarding the violence in northeast Delhi in which at least 23 lives have been lost and over 200 people severely injured, the MLA the time has come to send those who indulge in anti-national activities to jail and feed them biryani.
“Decisions must be taken on the spot. Let them be directly sent to ‘Jannat’ where 72 virgins are waiting to serve these Pakistani agents in India," he said.
He further said Modi and Shah were only waiting for Trump to leave the nation before they could take some decisive action against those speaking ill of the country.
"I said on Tuesday that those who speak against the nation must be shot dead. That work has begun now. The PM and HM were waiting for US President Donald Trump to depart from India before they could act. Now that he has left, that work has begun. This is going to be a revolution in India, or India cannot be saved, Hindus cannot be saved," he told reporters in Vijayapura.
He also said that had the Mangaluru Police not taken tough decisions during anti-CAA protests in December last year, the situation could have worsened the way it did Delhi over the last three days. Police had opened fire at a crowd on December 19 and two persons had died in the ensuing chaos.