Karnataka

Congress questions BJP for defending party worker who made offensive remarks against Dalit women in Karnataka

KPCC spokesperson and former Minister Priyank Kharge (centre) addressing a media conference at Aiwan-e-Shahi Guest House in Kalaburagi on July 6, 2022.

KPCC spokesperson and former Minister Priyank Kharge (centre) addressing a media conference at Aiwan-e-Shahi Guest House in Kalaburagi on July 6, 2022. | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

Denying his involvement in the arrest of Ayyappa Ramatheertha, a young man who had criticised him, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Priyank Kharge clarified that the arrest was the outcome of his derogatory words against Dalit women.

“Some BJP supporters are claiming that I put pressure on the police and ensured the arrest of Ayyappa Ramatheertha just because he criticised me. It is a false allegation. India is a democratic country, and everybody has freedom of expression. I am always open to constructive criticism. As a matter of fact, the man was arrested because of his derogatory and objectionable remarks against women of the entire Dalit community. Even the mother of the man has publicly accepted her son’s offence,” Mr. Priyank told mediapersons at Aiwan-e-Shahi Guest House in Kalaburagi on July 6.

Mr. Priyank, who was the MLA for Chittapur where the incident occurred, objected to BJP supports preventing police from discharging their duties.

‘BJP supporters blocked police’

“Soon after the arrest, hundreds of BJP supporters gathered outside the police station. Manikanta Rathod, a local BJP leader named in over 25 criminal cases, led the protest to prevent police from discharging their duties. Will BJP leaders, who always talk volumes about culture and women’s high status in society, accept the demand to release a person who made offensive remarks against Dalit women? Don’t they consider atrocities against Dalits a crime?”

Mr. Priyank showed the BJP membership card of Mr. Rathod and a few photographs of him with senior BJP leaders, including B. Sreeramulu, Araga Jnanendra, B. L. Santhosh and B.S. Yediyurappa.

“BJP is known for disassociating from its members when the latter are found to be involved in illegal activities. That is why I have put this evidences before mediapersons,” Mr. Priyank said.

The former Minister warned of strong repercussions from his party to counter the offensive from the BJP.

“BJP leaders and cadres are targeting Congress members as the latter are opposing illegal activities, such as smuggling of Anna Bhagya rice and sand mining. If they think that they can do anything and get away without any legal action as they are in power, we won’t allow that to happen. If they continue to attack Congress rank and file, and unleash abusive remarks against Dalits, we cannot sit like silent spectators. We also know how to hit back in their language,” Mr. Priyank said.

Referring to a video clip making the rounds on social media platforms, Mr. Priyank said that the video refers to a prostitution rocket being operated by BJP leaders from a hotel in Kalaburagi.

“It is now clear that BJP leaders are behind the suspected prostitution rocket in Kalaburagi. Police should probe the issue and bring the culprits to justice,” he said.


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Printable version | Sep 15, 2022 7:15:39 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/congress-questions-bjp-for-defending-party-worker-who-made-offensive-remarks-against-dalit-women-in-karnataka/article65606831.ece