Karnataka Congress leader Satish Jarkiholi on Wednesday withdrew his remark on the origin of the word ‘Hindu’ and offered an apology to those hurt by his statement, reported NDTV.

At an event in Belgavi district on Monday, Jarkiholi, the working president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, had said that the word “Hindu” has no connection with India.

“Where has the word ‘Hindu’ come from?” Jarkiholi had asked. “It has come from Persia…So, what is its relation with India? How’s ‘Hindu’ yours? Check on WhatsApp, and Wikipedia, the term isn’t yours. Why do you want to put it on a pedestal?… Its meaning is horrible.”

Jarkiholi’s comments had led to an uproar in the state with the Bhartiya Janata Party as well as the Congress criticising the statement. Even though the controversy grew, Jarkiholi refused to apologise and said he would resign as the Yamakanmardi MLA if he is proven wrong.

However on Wednesday, Jarkiholi offered an apology but at the same time alleged that the uproar was a ploy to defame him and damage his image, reported The Indian Express. In a letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, the Congress legislator sought setting up an inquiry into his allegations.

“I said that there were many articles which said that the word ‘Hindu’ had a bad meaning and that it is necessary to be discussed publicly,” Jarkiholi said in the letter. “My speech was based on Wikipedia, books, dictionaries and works of historians. Some vested interests have branded me anti-Hindu.”

The Yamakanmardi MLA claimed that his statement was taken out of context.

“Moreover, to ensure that there is no misconception among people, I am withdrawing the statements which were made with a good intention,” he added. “I also regret the hurt felt by people due to my statement.”