Bengaluru, Aug 2: Senior BJP leader and former Home Minister of Karnataka Araga Jnanendra on Wednesday came under fire over his objectionable remark on the skin tone of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge.
Coming heavily on him, the Congress demanded his expulsion from the BJP and asserted that he be sent to a hospital which treats mental illness.
While participating in the protest against implementation of the Kasturi Rangan report in the Western Ghat region, Jnanedra had stated that Minister of Forests Eshwar Khandre is from north Karnataka and he does not have any knowledge about people living near forests.
“The people of the region do not have the cover of trees and would be burnt under the scorching Sun. Is it not evident when we see Mallikarjun Kharge,” he asked.
“It is a tragedy that our state has a minister of Forests coming from the region which does not have forest at all. The people from north Karnataka are burnt to the core under scorching Sun. If we see Mallikarjun Kharge, we know the plight of those people. Eshwar Khandre has some hair on his head and he could escape the scorching Sun,” Jnanedra further ridiculed.
The comments were made during the protest in Thirthahalli in Shivamogga district on Tuesday. The remarks went viral on social media on Wednesday attracting public outrage across Karnataka. Dalit organisations have pitched in and slammed Jnanendra for the objectionable remark.
Reacting to it, DyCM D.K. Shivakumar on Wednesday slammed the former state minister saying that should be sent to NIMHANS hospital for treatment of mental illness.
“The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) is located in Bengaluru. It functions excellently. If Araga Jnanendra continues to speak in this fashion, he would have to be sent there,” he explained.
The Karnataka Congress put out a post slamming Jnanendra seeking his apology to Kharge and Dalit community. “By ridiculing the skin colour of Mallikarjun Kharge, Araga Jnanedra has represented the low standards of mindset of the BJP. He had voiced the impatience and negligence the BJP has towards Dalits,” the Congress stated.
The humiliation on the skin tone is not only an insult to Mallikarjun Kharge, it is an insult to the natives of the land, Dalits. There are movements launched at the global level to eradicate racism based on skin colour. If racist comments on skin tone is made or comments on physical
structure is made, it is seen as a big crime. But, BJP here sees insulting the skin tone of Dalits , their physical appearance and the whole of Dalit community as a matter of prestige, the Congress charged.
If BJP has even scant respect for Dalits, Araga Jnanedra must be expelled from the party, Congress underlined.
Minister for Forest Eshwar Khandre reacting to the comments stated in New Delhi that Araga Jnanendra and BJP, who are casteist and racist in nature have not only insulted Kharge and people of Kalyan Karnataka region, but whole of the state. He had issued statements after losing mental balance. Legal action should be initiated against him and he should be expelled from the BJP, he demanded.
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