Belagavi: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Secretary Satish Jarkiholi has apologized for his controversial statement on the origin of the word ‘Hindu’ made on Sunday, November 6 at an event by writing a letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
In his letter to CM Bommai, he wrote, “I apologize and take my statement back. If my statement has hurt anybody’s sentiments, I’m sorry for that”.
“The statement of mine on the origin of the word in the ‘Maanava Bandhutva’ programme at Nippani has turned into a controversy. My statement has been altered and presented to the people. Hence to avoid further confusions, I’m taking back my statement”.
“Some are trying to paint me in a negative shade by portraying me as ‘anti-Hindu’. This is a planned attempt to tarnish my image. I request you (CM Bommai) to take action against the culprits who are trying to create confusions”, the letter added.
Further he writes, “In the event I had said that the word ‘Hindu’ is derived from Persian language. How did it come into use in India? In several literatures, the meaning of the word ‘Hindu’ has dirty meanings. Hence, I had said that there is a need to have a detailed discussion on it. I spoken on this topic keeping forth information based on Wikipedia, dictionaries, and several literary works. But some have tried to twist my statement and present it negatively”.
Jarkiholi, while speaking at Nippani in Belagavi district during an event organised by “Manav Bandhutva Vedike’ on Sunday, had claimed that the word ‘Hindu’ is Persian and has a very dirty meaning.
He had also said that a word and a religion from elsewhere are being forcefully imposed on people here, and demanded that there should be a proper debate in this regard.
Unfazed over the widespread criticism, including from his own party, for his remarks, Jarkiholi on Tuesday had said he was only referring to what has been written and published.
Defending himself and ruling out any apology, he had said he wants a debate on the issue and if proved wrong, would resign as a legislator.
Soon after Jarkiholi’s statement had gone viral on Monday, the Congress on its part had rejected it with AICC General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala condemning it on behalf of the party.
Speaking to reporters earlier today, Karnataka PCC chief D K Shivakumar said, “Our party condemns Jarkiholi’s statement, BJP may use the issue for politics, we are not bothered. As the President I’m saying — what he has said is wrong, I will contact him.” Pointing out that Jarkiholi has tried to defend himself by stating that he was referring to a book, he said, “I don’t know which book. Our party’s stand on our religion and culture has been made clear by AICC General Secretary Surjewala, Siddaramaiah and me. There is no change in it.” The BJP today held a statewide protest condemning Jarkiholi for his controversial statement, and also attacked the Congress party.
At Mysuru Bank circle in Bengaluru, BJP workers staged a demonstration waving saffron flags and shouting slogans “Navella Hindu, Navella Ondu ‘ (We are all Hindus and are united). They burnt an effigy of Jarkiholi.
Similar protests by burning the Congress leader’s effigy, was held in Jarkiholi’s home district of Belagavi.
There were reports of protests from various parts of the state including Chamarajanagar, Tumakuru, Karwar, Yadgir, Raichur, Shivamogga, Gadag, Kalaburagi, Kolar, Bagalkote among other places.
Earlier in the day, speaking to reporters in Davangere, Chief Minister Bommai said, “He (Jarkiholi) is saying that his claims were after referring to some books and Wikipedia, whose trustworthiness is questionable. There are several cases. Believing them, if he is making such statements, what to say?” Hitting out at Congress for taking shelter by stating that the remarks were not made at a party meeting or forum, he said, “The content is important. In an open public meeting, he has clearly said what he had to. Congress has to come out clear, Siddaramaiah (Congress Legislature Party leader) comments on every other thing, why is he silent on this? He has to say what his opinion is.” BJP Parliamentary Board Member and former chief minister Yediyurappa said Jarkiholi’s statement “humiliating Hindus is unpardonable”.
He urged the Congress leader to apologise stating that he won’t repeat it. “If not, people will teach a lesson.” Home Minister Araga Jnanendra too hit out at Jarkiholi and called Congress “dirty”, while accusing it of minority appeasement by humiliating Hindus, for the sake of votes.
Challenging Shivakumar, the minister further said, “If he has guts, let him remove Jarkiholi. Both — supporting such acts and condemning the same — cannot go hand in hand. Let Congress act similarly as BJP did against Nupur Sharma (for her controversial remarks about Prophet Mohammed).”
(With inputs from PTI)