- Hand that touches Hindu girl should not exist: Ananth Kumar Hegde
- Mr Hegde has been making bizarre comments on sensitive issues
- He termed Kerala's handling of Sabarimala as "daylight rape" of Hindus
Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde, who is not new to courting controversy with his bizarre takes on sensitive issues, waded into the territory of wild theories on Sunday with comments from who built the Taj Mahal to how to keep "Hindu girls" safe.
"We have to rethink about priorities of our society. We shouldn't think of caste. If a Hindu girl is touched by a hand, then that hand should not exist," said Mr Hegde at a public event in Karnataka's Kodagu district.
This is not the first time the Union Minister has stirred up a controversy with ill-considered remarks on sensitive issues. On January 2, he had termed the Kerala government's handling of the Sabarimala row as the "daylight rape" of Hindus, crossing yet another dubious milestone in a political career studded with controversies.
At the public event on Sunday, standing in front of a large crowd on a podium, he continued: "Taj Mahal was not built by Muslims. It's definitely not built by Muslims, the history speaks for it. Shah Jahan in his autobiography has said he bought this palace from King Jayasimha. It's a Shiv mandir built by King Paramatheertha, Tejo Mahalaya. Tejo Mahalaya became Taj Mahal. If we keep sleeping, most of our houses also will be named manzil. In future, Lord Ram will be called jahanpana and Sita will become bibi."
Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao condemned the comments by the Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship as "deplorable". "Wht are ur achievements after becoming a Union Minister or as MP? Wht are ur contributions for Karnataka's development? All I can say for sure, it's deplorable tht such people have become ministers & have managed to get elected as MP's," Mr Rao tweeted.
Mr Hegde's latest comments add to a long list of controversies that the union minister had raked up. Last year, he described Dalit protesters who waylaid his convoy en route to a job fair in Karnataka's Ballari as "dogs barking on the road". A few months later, he compared the opposition to "crows, monkeys, foxes and others" that had come together to fight the tiger that's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even the Janata Dal (United), a BJP ally, asked him to mind his language.
In 2017, Mr Hegde said that his party, the BJP, would change the Constitution by removing the word "secular" from it - provoking protests across the country. The same year, he was caught slapping a doctor on camera because he wasn't happy with the medical treatment provided to his mother.