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Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde kicks up row with remarks on secularism

Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde kicks up row with remarks on secularism

Union Minister of State for Employment and Skill Development Anantkumar Hegde on Sunday kicked up a storm by describing “secular people” as those who do not have an identity of their parental blood.

Asking people to identity themselves with their religion and caste rather than being secular, he said the Constitution too would change in accordance with such thinking. “We are here to change the Constitution,” he said at a function organised by the Brahmana Yuva Parishat and women’s organisation at Kukkanur in Yelburga taluk of Koppal district.

“Those claiming to be secular and progressive do not have an identity of their parents and their blood. One will get self-respect through such identity,” he said. “I will be happy if someone identifies as Muslim, Christian, Brahmin, Lingayat or Hindu. But trouble will arise if they say they are secular.”

‘Constitution needs to be changed from time to time’

The Minister pointed out that the Constitution has undergone changes from time to time. “The Constitution needs to be changed from time to time and we have come for that,” he said.

Referring to those criticising religious customs and traditions by referring to the ‘Manu Smriti’, he said the text had become outdated and at present, ‘Ambedkar Smriti’ was being talked about. “Progressive thinkers do not know about history, tradition and culture. Those who themselves have erred are trying to blame others for their mistakes,” he said.

His remarks have been opposed by progressive thinkers and groups in different parts of the State. Members of the Students’ Federation of India staged a protest in Koppal, condemning the comments.

He launched the Parishad’s website and women’s wing on Sunday.

He said he respects the Constitution but “it will be changed in the days to come”.

“We are here for that and that is why we have come.”

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took serious exception to the remarks, saying they do not befit Mr. Hegde’s position as Union Minister.

Soon after he was appointed a minister CCTV footage of Mr Hegde slapping a doctor was widely circulated. He was seen striking the doctor, grabbing him by the throat and slamming him against a wall. Mr Hegde was apparently furious because he felt the doctors were not paying enough attention to his mother, who had suffered multiple fractures after a fall at home. But no action was taken against him.

Hitting out at Hegde on Monday, CM Siddaramaiah said the minister has not studied the Constitution, does not know the parliamentary or political language. He said Hegde has not learnt the social system and added that people belonging to various religions live in India.

“Each and every individual in this country is an Indian, and every religion has equal right and opportunity. He does not have this basic knowledge,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Hubballi.

Now, it needs to be seen whether the ruling government at the Centre would clarify whether Hedge’s comment regarding removal of the word “secular” from the Constitution is a part of the central government’s plan in the future or not.

Source: The Hindu