Siddaramaiah lashes out at BJP leaders over their protest against karsevak’s arrest

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday lashed out at the BJP over its protest against the arrest of a Hindu activist in Hubballi in connection with a 31-year-old case related to Ram temple agitation, saying leaders of the opposition party need to understand that assigning caste and religious labels to criminals is extremely dangerous.

He recalled that even when the BJP government was in power in the state, the Lokayukta police had arrested the then Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and sent him to jail.

“Is that Hubballi criminal suspect any greater Hindu or devotee of Rama than Yediyurappa? So, was the government at that time anti-Hindu? Not even the leaders of the BJP’s parent organisation called the government that arrested Hindu Yediyurappa anti-Hindu, did they? Why this outcry now?”, Siddaramaiah said.

“The Congress government is becoming more popular day by day. Out of desperation, BJP leaders are rallying around a criminal suspect”, the Chief Minister said.

Siddaramaiah said it should not have come to a point where a national party has to defend a criminal suspect.

“If any BJP leaders have a little wisdom, they should please read out the list of charges against this person from Hubballi and then decide whether to fight for him. Since Hindus are the majority in the population, they are also the majority in prisons. Does that mean BJP should fight for all of them because they belong to the Hindu religion?”, he asked.

The increase in criminal activities in the state is due to the BJP’s illegal actions and their tendency to colour crime and criminals with caste and religion, the Chief Minister alleged.

“Even if a person commits heinous crimes, if he wraps a saffron shawl around his head and shouts that he is a Hindu, BJP leaders rush to his defence. This is not only a disgrace to the saffron shawl but also to Hinduism itself. It’s a betrayal of religion. Let the law take its course”, Siddaramaiah said.

He appealed to the BJP leaders in the State to stop playing petty politics in the name of God and religion, and try to act as a responsible opposition.

The Congress government in the State last week reopened the case against the Hindu activist Srikanth Poojari, a ‘kar sevak’ (volunteer) who was allegedly involved in a case of rioting during the Ram temple agitation in 1992, in Hubballi.