Union Minister of State for Skill Development, Anantkumar Hegde, has been in the news lately for his controversial statement about “secular people not knowing the identity of their parental blood”, for which he has received much flak.
On Tuesday, former Kalaburgi Zilla Panchayat member and leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Gurushant Pattedar, lashed out against the minister and announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for the person who cuts off the minister’s tongue.
“Union Minister of State, Ananthkumar Hegde has made derogatory statements about the members of backward castes and also the minorities and hurt them. He has spoken against the Constitution. Today (Tuesday), I am offering a bounty of Rs 1 crore for anyone who cuts off Ananthkumar Hegde’s tongue and brings it to me by the end of the day,” Gurushant Pattedar told the local media.
Anantkumar Hegde had earlier remarked that elected leaders will go to any lengths to change the Indian 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.
The minister said this while speaking at a function organised by the Brahmana Yuva Parishat and women’s organisation at Kukkanur in Koppal district.
The minister’s comments drew sharp criticism from both opposition leaders and progressive thinkers across the state. Members of the Students’ Federation of India staged a protest in Koppala condemning the comments.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also criticised Hegde’s remarks. “I do not want to stoop to his level. We know our language and culture. He is a Union minister, but spits venom,” he said.
However, political leaders threatening to cut off body parts of their opponents is not new to Karnataka.
In November 2015, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s statement about beef eating being a personal choice, had angered several Hindutva fringe groups and also the BJP.
BJP leader from Shivamogga Channabasappa, had issued an open threat to Siddaramaiah, stating that he would behead the Chief Minister if he ate beef. The saffron party leader’s comments came after Siddaramaiah had said he would eat beef if he wanted to.
“I will eat beef now. Who are you to question me?” Siddaramaiah had commented against the fringe Hindu groups who were at the time campaigning for a complete ban on cow slaughter in India.
Reacting to the CM’s comment, Channabasappa had said, “How dare you lay your hands on the neck of gau-mata? You are openly saying with a dictatorial attitude that you will eat cow meat... If you have the guts, you come here and eat at Gopi Circle (in Shivamogga), then, let there be no doubt that on that day, you will be beheaded.”