New Delhi: As the entry of two women devotees into Sabarimala temple created an uproar among certain sections, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde kicked off a row by stating that the latest development was a "daylight rape of Hindus".
"The Kerala government has entirely failed. I would like to say that it's totally daylight rape on Hindu people," he told news agency ANI.
The minister also said that maintaining law and order was a state subject and the government should have ensured that it was managed diplomatically "without hurting the faith of the masses". However, his remark seemed to have hurt many sentiments as Hegde was slammed on social media for making controversial statements whenever "he opens his mouth".
Lose tongue of BJP. Rape of Hindu people?? Is there a single person in the BJP who is sane?— AC (@ACinindia) January 2, 2019
When an 8 year old was raped & killed inside the temple nothing happened to the faith of @BJP4India— Shevon Jomini Samuel (@ShevonJS) January 2, 2019
This country is run by constitution not by someone’s traditional #or astha #— NADEEM SIDDIQUI (@ahmadnadeem187) January 2, 2019
All he is trying to do is pour more fuel on the already volatile situation in Kerala. Please @BJP4India @PMOIndia do take stock of the situation in Kerala, before more innocent Hindu lives are lost.— #SaveSabarimala Maya Anil🇮🇳 (@maya_anilkumar) January 3, 2019
Hegde's statement came on a day when Kerala witnessed widespread right-wing protests against the entry of two women, in their forties, into the Lord Ayyappa temple. Clashes were witnessed in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, with police using tear gas bombs and water cannons to disperse agitators.
This is not the first time the Union Minister has stirred up a controversy with his statements. Last year, he described Dalit protesters, who waylaid his convoy, in Karnataka's Ballari as "dogs barking on the road".
A few months later, he compared the opposition to "crows, monkeys, foxes and others" that had come together to fight the tiger — Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even the Janata Dal (United), a BJP ally, asked him to mind his language.