A Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker from Karnataka on Thursday said he would have ordered the police to shoot “intellectuals” if he was the Union home minister. Speaking at a Kargil Vijay Diwas event in Vijayapura, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal branded liberals and intellectuals as “anti-nationals”.
“These people live in this country and use all the facilities for which we pay tax,” said the MLA from Vijayapura. “Then they raise slogans against the Indian Army. Our country faces grave danger from intellectuals and seculars than anyone else.”
Both Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have demanded that action be taken against Yatnal, reported The News Minute. “This is a reflection of the BJP’s mindset,” Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao told India Today. “This is actually what they believe in and what they think that to achieve their goals any amount of deaths and violence is a given and they will use any method to propagate their ideology.”
Congress state spokesperson Aiyshwarya Mahadev said the BJP cannot tolerate people who speak out against the injustice and evils of the government. “Yatnal however, for his statements is going to get away with almost no sort of rap on the knuckles or anything,” she added.
This is not the first time Yatnal has stirred a controversy. In June, he said the BJP should not work for the development of the Muslim community as they had not voted for the party. “I never asked Muslims to vote for me, I had faith in Hindus that they would vote for me,” he had said in a video that went viral. “Hindus are the one who ensured my win in the elections. I will work to develop the Hindu community, not the Muslims.”
Yatnal was a BJP MLA from 1994 to 1999. He was an MP from 1999 to 2009 and served as minister of state for textiles and railways under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In 2010, he switched to the Janata Dal (Secular) but soon returned to the saffron party.