Karnataka Congress Leader Doubles Down In ‘Hindu’ Row

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The BJP slammed Satish Jarkiholi’s remarks and the Congress distanced itself

Bengaluru:

Karnataka Congress MLA Satish Jarkiholi today claimed that many books mention the “Persian” roots of the word ‘Hindu’ and offered to resign if anyone can prove him wrong, a day after his remark on the origin of the word stoked a massive controversy.

“There’s nothing wrong in what I said. There are hundreds of records about how this Persian word (Hindu) came. This has been mentioned in Swamy Dayanand Saraswati’s book ‘Satyarth Prakash’, Dr GS Patil’s book ‘Basava Bharatha’ and Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s ‘Kesari’ newspaper as well. These are just 3-4 examples, there are many such articles available on Wikipedia or any website, you should please read it,” he said in a video statement.

Speaking to the media, he said he will step down as a legislator if he is proved wrong. “Let everyone prove I am wrong. If I am wrong, I will resign as MLA, not just apologise for my statement,” he said.  

Mr Jarkiholi, besides being an MLA, is the working President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee and has also served as forest minister in the previous Janata Dal Secular-Congress government. He made the remark during an event in Belagavi district on Sunday.

The Congress leader had said that the word “Hindu” has a vulgar meaning and asked how people can accept the word when it had no connection with India.

“The word Hindu, where did it originate from? Is it ours? It’s Persian, from the region of Iran, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan. What is the connection of the word Hindu with India? Then how can you accept it? This should be debated,” he said, adding, “You will be ashamed to know the meaning of Hindu.”

The remark stoked a massive row, with the BJP terming it an attempt to appease minority voters and the Congress distancing itself.

Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai condemned the remark. “They make statements with half-knowledge to appease voters and dream to get minority votes. This is anti-national and everyone should condemn it. Is Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah’s silence endorsing Satish Jarkiholi’s statements?” the Chief Minister asked. 

The MLA’s statement was also strongly criticised by former Chief Minister and BJP veteran BS Yediyurappa. “What Satish Jarkiholi has said should be condemned. The Congress itself has condemned it. But that is not enough. I demand that the Congress and Satish Jarkiholi apologise to the Hindu community,” Mr Yediyurappa said.   

Dr. Ashwathnarayan CN, Karnataka’s Minister for Higher Education, said the Congress should respect people’s sentiments. “They should not be creating confusion. Respect the sentiments, respect the culture instead of being critical. Don’t create unnecessary controversies, it is not good in the interest of the societies,” he said.

The Congress condemned the remarks “unequivocally”. Senior party leader and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Hinduism is a way of life & a civilisational reality. Congress built our Nation to respect every religion, belief & faith. This is the essence of India.”

“The statement attributed to Satish Jarkiholi is deeply unfortunate & deserves to be rejected. We condemn it unequivocally,” he tweeted.

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