The Congress on Thursday demanded the removal of Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa from the state Cabinet and asked that he be arrested for his statement that grand Krishna and Vishwanath temples would come up in Mathura and Kashi respectively after 'liberating' them.
Eshwarappa had made the statement while reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the foundation of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday.
"By asking kar sevaks (volunteers) to launch a similar campaign, the minister (Eshwarappa) is trying to disturb peace in the society," Congress Karnataka unit chief DK Shivakumar said at a press conference in Ballari on Thursday.
"Such people should be arrested immediately, police officials should register a case against him and the Chief Minister should remove him from the cabinet," he said.
Karnataka Minister Eshwarappa had said on Wednesday that he was of the firm opinion that, "if not today, or tomorrow, Mathura and Kashi temples will be liberated and grand temples would be built there." He was addressing reporters in Shivamogga district.
Eshwarappa, a former BJP state president, claimed the centres of Hindu belief, Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura were a kind of a symbol of 'slavery' as "temples of our Rama, Krishna and Vishwanath were destroyed and mosques built."
Stating that Eshwarappa is not an individual but a minister who represents the government, Shivakumar on Thursday sought to know from the Chief Minister whether this was his government's stand.
Shivakumar, who is a former minister, requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to uphold the country's secular values, which has been "dented" by a minister's statement that can cause communal disturbance.
"I want you (Modi) to instruct the Chief Minister to sack him immediately and to file a criminal case (against Eshwarappa)," Shivakumar said.