“This (Hegde’s comments) shows the brahmanical and evil mindset of the Sangh parivar and its functionaries from top to bottom, which has no place for Dalits.”
New Delhi: Newly-elected MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to drop Anantkumar Hegde from his cabinet for his comment likening Dalit protestors to dogs.
The minister was on his way to a job fair in Ballari, Karnataka on Saturday when a group of Dalit protestors blocked his convoy and raised slogans protesting his comments about secularism and changing the constitution. They also accused him of being anti-Dalit. Later at the fair, while mentioning the protests, Hegde said, “We are stubborn people. When dogs bark on the road, we don’t care.”
Hegde is minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship in the Modi government at the Centre.
“This (Hegde’s comments) shows the brahmanical and evil mindset of the Sangh parivar and its functionaries from top to bottom, which has no place for Dalits,” said Mevani. He also demanded that an FIR should be registered against the minister and he should be arrested as “this was an offence under Atrocities Act”.
After the programme on Saturday, Dalit protestors staged a demonstration and, waving black scarves, shouted slogans against Hegde. Some persons were taken into custody by the police when they tried to block the minister’s convoy, The Hindu reported.
The minister later told news agency PTI that his remarks were misinterpreted. “I haven’t made any such remark against Dalits. The Congress is deliberately trying to damage my image by alluding the remark to Dalits,” said Hegde, claiming that his remark was actually made against the “so-called intellectuals” who were critical of his political stand on various issues.
Actor Prakash Raj, a household name in Karnataka and much of south India, and a vocal critic of Modi and the BJP’s policies, slammed the Union minister on Twitter.
Enough is enough.🙏🙏🙏..Serial offender…minister Ananthkumar Hegde at it again….he calls Dalits DOGs ..for protesting against his controversial constitution remark… supreme leaders of #bjp will you ask him to step down …or do you endorse his abuse #justasking
— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) January 20, 2018
He also demanded that senior BJP leaders ask Hedge to resign from his post.
Mevani alleged that it was Hegde who encouraged members of the Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha to sprinkle cow urine on the stage of a programme where the actor had spoken to ‘purify’ it a few days ago.