BJP Lok Sabha MP Ananthkumar Hegde has drawn fire for his alleged remarks linking Islam to terrorism, with the police registering a criminal case against him suo moto.
The case has been booked at Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district under section 295(A) of the IPC relating to "deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs," police said.
The five-time MP from Uttara Kannada had made the remarks at a press conference at Sirsi on Sunday, February 28, drawing a link between Islam and terrorism, triggering protests from Muslim organisations.
He said, "If you are ready to use the exact words used by me I will say this. My only condition is that the exact words should be used. Then only I will speak and will not deny what I have said. I am the only one who has been saying this for the past 20 years. As long as we have Islam in the world, there will be no end to terrorism. If we are unable to end Islam, we wonâ€™t be able to end terrorism. If you media people have the freedom to report this, please report this.â€ť
Muslim organisations in the communally sensitive Bhatkal town in the district had held protests and submitted a memorandum to the District Superintendent of Police Vamsi Krishna, calling for action against Hegde. Krishna said security had been tightened in Bhatkal as a precautionary step.
Muslim outfits in the neighbouring Dakshina Kannada district had also sought action.
State Health Minister U T Khader had requested Home Minister G Parameshwara to take suo motu action against Hegde for his "shocking and irresponsible" statement against Islam.
Karnataka state president of Popular Front of India, Mohammed Shahid said, â€śPeople like Ananthkumar will never change. The only thing that will change is the kind of words they use to spell out hatred.â€ť
â€śWhat is surprising is that he wants every line of his statement to be published by media, so you can imagine the extent he can go to. We are planning to raise the issue with the Lok Sabha Speaker,â€ť said Shahid.
Meanwhile BJP has distanced itself from the statement made by Hegde. Karnataka BJP spokesperson, S. Prakash said that whatever Hegde said were his personal views and in no way reflected the partyâ€™s ideology.
â€śIf he is being attacked, he has to defend himself on his own,â€ť he said.