Hegde remarked that elected leaders would go to any lengths in changing the Constitution.

Constitution cannot be changed for casteists Siddaramaiah slams Hegde over comments
news Politics Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - 09:04

Anantkumar Hegde's statements mocking secularism and seeking reforms in the constitution has sparked rage among opposition members including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Retorting to the minister’s comments, Siddaramaiah said that the constitution framed by BR Ambedkar could not be changed for casteists. “In the Constitution we have said we will create a secular nation. There are people belonging to different religions and castes. Creation of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ is not possible. All the 125 crore people in the country are Indians and we can’t glorify one particular religion. All religions have to be treated equally,” he said speaking to The Hindu.

The statements by Hegde have not gone down well with other secular leaders, especially Dalit leaders in the state who called for the minister to step down over his recent comments. Calling Hegde an anti-Dalit and anti-social, Dalit leader and MLA Raju Algur demanded that the government should sack him from the Union Ministry.

He also said that Hegde was unfit to become an MP and hold the post of a public representative and added that Dalit leaders would file a case against the MP.

The leaders were responding to comments made by Anantkumar Hegde at a function in Koppal on Sunday. 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,” he had said. 

His comments drew sharp criticism from both opposition leaders and groups of progressive thinkers in different parts of the state. It also sparked social media outrage while members of the Students’ Federation of India staged a protest in Koppal condemning his comments.

Anantkumar Hegde, who has been part of the contingent of leaders leading the BJP’s state-wide Parivartana Yatra, is no stranger to controversy. In an earlier speech at the Parivartana Yatra in Kundapur, 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,” he had said on November 13.

In 2016, Hegde had reportedly told media persons 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.

 

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