The Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister of Karnataka, K S Eshwarappa said on Wednesday that a day would come when the saffron flag would be hoisted at the Red Fort.
Speaking to reporters on the hijab controversy, which has turned into a major crisis in the state as Hindu students are coming to colleges wearing saffron shawls in protest, Eshwarappa further said that the saffron flag could indeed become the national flag of our nation.
“We will hoist the saffron flag at any flag post. Those who have understanding should respect it. Earlier people used to laugh when we used to say that a temple of Shri Ram will be built in Ayodhya, have we not built a temple in Ayodhya now? Eshwarappa inquired. “We will fly the saffron flag anywhere in the world. It is our desire to wear a saffron shawl.
Eshwarappa was responding to KPCC President D K Shivakumar’s allegations that saffron shawls are being distributed by BJP. He denied the allegations saying, “What is wrong in distributing saffron shawls? Leaders of Opposition Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar feel insecure on hearing about saffron.”
“Is it possible to go to Christian schools without a uniform? Shivakumar should answer this. I am ready to distribute saffron shawls. I am in independent India. Who is he to question my freedom? I have not distributed saffron shawls. Even if I distribute them, what’s wrong with that?” He asked.
Turning his guns on Congress MLA Kaneez Fatima, who said she would attend the session in hijab and if anyone had the strength, let them stop her. Eshwarappa dared her to go to the mosque if she had the strength. “We have not said that she will be arrested if she wears a hijab in the assembly,” he said.
This statement has created controversy in Karnataka. Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has condemned his statement and said that changing the tricolor is not easy. “It represents all the states. No one can take down the tricolor. Do not use children for politics,” he said.
The hijab controversy first surfaced in Karnataka’s Udupi district last month when some Muslim girls wearing hijab demanded admission to classes. This issue has now turned into a major crisis in the state. The High Court has referred the matter to a larger Bench and no interim order has been passed so far. The protests have turned violent due to the hijab controversy and prohibitory orders have been imposed in several districts of the state.