Bengaluru: Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy has stoked a controversy with his remarks that a few BJP leaders were behaving like terror group ISIS.
"I never called all the BJP leaders terrorists. I said only a few BJP leaders are behaving like ISIS," Reddy said.
He was asked about his reported remarks at Belagavi calling BJP leaders "terrorists".
The opposition BJP has reacted angrily to Reddy's remarks, alleging that Kanataka has become a "hub for jihadi activities" due to these "mindsets who govern the state".
However, Reddy said, "I am the first person to condemn ISI, ISIS and Jihadis. These (BJP) leaders are trying to foment communal passion in the state by giving provocative statements."
He hit out at Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ananthkumar Hegde and BJP Lok Sabha member from Mysuru-Kodagu Prathap Simha, accusing them of "provoking people".
"... My statement was basically against these two leaders who are trying to disturb peace in the state," the minister said.
Reddy said ever since he became the home minister, he has been noticing that certain BJP leaders were trying to provoke people.
Hitting back at Reddy, state senior BJP leader S Suresh Kumar said in his Facebook page: "We all have been likened with ISIS. I want to know whether police will catch us or we have to surrender before the police."
"Karnataka has been a hub for Jihadi activities thanks to these mindsets who govern the state," BJP Lok Sabha member Shobha Karandlaje tweeted.
In another tweet, she said, "Outrightly condemn HM Reddy's statement of comparing BJP with terrorists. Has the minister lost his senses or is he trying to please the Jihadis?".
Reddy's attack on BJP came days after Simha was arrested during a protest against alleged restrictions on celebration of 'Hanuman Jayanti' at Hunsur in Mysuru district.
According to police, a case has been registered against Hegde for allegedly using derogatory words against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in a speech at Kittur in Belagavi district, recently.
The case was registered by Mysuru police on the direction of a court based on a complaint by Mysuru district Congress president BJ Vijay Kumar.