Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya has hit out at a group of Kannada activists who allegedly vandalised Hindi banners put up for a Jain function in the Karnataka capital two days ago, claiming that such incidents only serve to defame "genuine" lovers of the regional language.
"Deeply hurt over the attack on our Jain brothers in B'luru over Hindi on a banner of a temple by few rowdy elements. They, however, never question the use of Urdu in Bengaluru. Assaulting peaceful Jains who contribute to Karnataka brings infamy to genuine Kannada lovers & activists," the first-time parliamentarian tweeted.
While opposition leaders criticised the BJP leader for giving a "communal angle" to the incident, Kannada activists took out a march to protest his views on the matter.
According to reports, Hindi banners put up at the entrance of a Jain prayer hall on Infantry Road were vandalised by the Kannada activists on Saturday evening. Members of the Jain community lodged a complaint with the police.
Deeply hurt over attack on our Jain brothers in B'luru over on a banner of a temple by few rowdy elements.— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) August 18, 2019
They however never question use of in Bengaluru.
Assaulting peaceful Jains who contribute to Karnataka brings infamy to genuine Kannada lovers & activists.
The issue later took a political turn, with Congress leader Siddaramaiah urging the authorities to release those arrested for removing the banners. "The state government must respect and not suppress the movement for protecting the land, water and language of Kannadigas. Their demands, which are legitimate, must be met," he tweeted in Kannada.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa later clarified that the government is committed to safeguarding the interests of Kannada and Kannadigas, and there can be no compromise on the matter. He also claimed that the police action taken on Sunday was aimed at maintaining law and order, and not to target pro-Kannada activists.
"I have equal concern for Kannada, Kannadigas and farmers. The well-being of the people is my motto," he said in a press release.
This is not the first time Kannada activists have targeted Hindi signboards and banners in Bengaluru. In 2017, members of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike stormed into Metro stations across Bengaluru and sprayed black paint over several Hindi signboards.
Tejasvi Surya's comments didn't come as a surprise either, given that he has made several controversial statements on religious issues over the last few months. "BJP should unapologetically be a party for Hindus. Must take concrete legislative measures to alleviate Hindu issues, not just make speeches... Congress is the party of Muslims: every Hindu must be convinced of this truth," read one of his tweets from 2018.
The young politician, a suprise candidate fielded by the BJP, beat Congress veteran BK Hariprasad by over three lakh votes to claim the Bengaluru South constituency in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
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