Karnataka Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa’s controversial statement comes amidst the hijab row where a group of students recently hoisted a saffron flag on a flagpole in college.

Karnataka Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa wearing a white shirtFile photo
news Controversy Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 13:19

After a group of students hoisted a saffron flag on a flagpole in Karnataka recently amid the hijab row, state Minister of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj KS Eshwarappa has yet again made a controversial statement that some day, a saffron flag will be hoisted at the Red Fort in Delhi, implying that it may become the national flag in the future. 

When reporters questioned Eshwarappa about the incident where a student had hoisted a saffron flag on a pole, he said, “They (Congress) say that the national flag was removed and the saffron flag was hoisted. I'm not ready to lie like them. We will hoist the saffron flag. Today or tomorrow, we will hoist the saffron flag when Hinduism comes to this country.” However he was quick to clarify saying, “The tricolour flag is the national flag, there is no doubt in this. We will all give respect to it.”

Reacting to Esharappa’s statement, Karnataka Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah said, "It clearly shows that they don’t have any respect for the national flag. Our national flag is a symbol of respect for our country. We vehemently criticise any disrespect."

Social media users were also quick to criticise him. “Was this in BJP's manifesto? Did India vote for BJP to change the flag?,” one of the users asked.  

Earlier, on Tuesday, February 8, a saffron clad student in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district climbed up the flagpole and placed a saffron flag on top. Visuals of the incident became viral on social media which show the student climbing up the flagpole, while the rest of the mob wearing saffron shawls continue to cheer. The incident took place at the Government First Grade College in Shivamogga city’s Bapujinagar. The incident sparked violence at the college and videos of stone pelting were widely circulated on social media too. Following this, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) were imposed on February 8 and February 9 in the city.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar had alleged that the students had removed the Indian flag and hoisted the saffron flag in its place. However, the principal of the college clarified that the flagpole was empty when the incident took place.

Eshwarappa is known to make controversial statements. Earlier, in August last year, he had encouraged the use of violence and suggested that party workers should take the law into their own hands to avenge political violence. He said this while addressing party workers at an event held in his home district of Shivamogga. 

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