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Congress leader Karnataka under fire for ‘Hindu’ comment apologizes, retracts statement

The working president of the Karnataka Congress, Satish Jarkiholi, who was hit back en masse for his statement about the origin of the word Hindu, retracted his comments on Wednesday and apologized. He called it a “conspiracy” against him and asked Prime Minister Basavaraj Bommai to order an investigation into the matter.

“There is a conspiracy to project me as anti-Hindu,” he said, writing to CM Bommai to request the formation of a committee to investigate the matter.

Earlier in the day, the BJP held protests in various parts of Karnataka, including Bengaluru, condemning Jarkiholi for his controversial statement that the word ‘Hindu’ is Persian and has a ‘dirty’ meaning. The Saffron Party also targeted Congress on the issue, calling it “anti-Hindu” and demanding its resignation from the party.

Bommai also questioned Congress leader Siddaramaiah for being silent on the matter and demanded his comment on the altercation. Former CM BS Yediyurappa had said Jarkiholi should apologize and if not, “people will learn a lesson”.

Speaking at Nippani in Belagavi district at an event hosted by “Manav Bandhutva Vedike” on Sunday, Jarkiholi 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 forcibly imposed on the people here, and demanded that there be a proper debate about this.

Despite widespread criticism of his comments, Jarkiholi said on Tuesday that he was only referring to what has been written and published. Jarkiholi defended himself and ruled out any apology.

Speaking to reporters today, Karnataka PCC chief Shivakumar said: “Our party condemns Jarkiholi’s statement, the BJP can use the issue for politics, we don’t care. Like the president I say – what he said is wrong, I will contact him.” Noting that Jarkiholi was trying to defend himself by saying he was referring to a book, he said: “I don’t know which book. Our party’s position on our religion and culture has been made clear by AICC Secretary General (Randeep) Surjewala, Siddaramaiah and me. Nothing changes in that.”

(with input of PTI)

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