Police here registered an FIR against senior BJP leader and former Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra for his objectionable comments on Congress national President Mallikarjun Kharge. The FIR was registered on Thursday based on a complaint lodged by Congress worker Rajiv Jane, in the Ashok Nagar police station here, a police official told PTI.
Jnanendra has been booked under Section 504 of IPC (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and the case will be transferred on Friday to Thirthahalli in Shivamogga district, where the incident occurred, the official said.
The senior BJP MLA made an objectionable reference to the complexion of Kharge and people of the region he hails from, during a protest in Thirthahalli on August 1.
Targeting Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre -- who also hails from the Kalyana Karnataka region to which Kharge also belongs to -- for his statement regarding the implementation of the Kasturirangan report, Jnanendra said, people from the region, who hardly know anything about trees, plants or shade are speaking about decisions that impacts the lives of people living in the Western Ghats region.
"...The government should make its stand clear (regarding implementation of Kasturirangan report), Mr Siddaramaiah! It is our misfortune that the Forest Minister is from that region (Kalyana-Karnataka), which doesn't have forest. They don't know what plant, tree or its shade is, under the scorching heat people there turn black (dark), we will know it by looking at our Kharge. Because of the hair cover, he is saved, it (hairs on head) is shade for them," Jnanendra said.
Addressing a gathering at the protest, he said, "Such people who don't know about the lives of people living in Malnad or Western Ghats region are speaking...so I urge the government to give clarity." Congress workers had on Wednesday held demonstrations in Bengaluru against Jnanendra, shouting slogans against him, while the party leaders hit out at him questioning his mental fitness.
However, as the issue snowballed into a controversy, Jnanendra had clarified maintaining that he never spoke about Kharge, but said he will express regret, if anyone is hurt.
"I never spoke against Mallikarjun Kharge, I don't think I'm big enough to criticise him. I always speak with respect for his seniority and experience. My intention was not to hurt Mallikarjun Kharge or Khandre. I have seen reactions in the media. My intention was not to hurt anyone's feelings, but if anyone is hurt, I express regret," he had said, maintaining he had never taken Kharge's name.
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