Bengaluru/Tumakuru: Facing countrywide protests against his government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his visit to Karnataka on Thursday to come down heavily on the Congress and its allies, telling them to protest, if they had the “guts”, against atrocities committed upon on religious minorities in Pakistan.
Addressing a public gathering at Siddaganga Math in Tumakuru, Mr Modi said, “I want to tell those who are protesting against the CAA that they should first expose Pakistan’s misdeeds before the world if they have the guts.”
The PM suggested that those who really care for human rights should organize protests in favour of Dalits and religious minorities who flee persecution in neighbouring countries and seek refuge in India. In particular, he targeted the Congress.
“From time to time, religious minorities have faced humiliation in Pakistan which has unleashed atrocities on Hindus, Sikhs and Christians, forcing thousands of them to take shelter in India. But the Congress and its friends have not uttered a single word against Pakistan,” Mr Modi remarked.
The Prime Minister was in Karnataka to attend a religious event, among others. He paid his respects at the 'Gadduge' (final resting place) of Shivakumara Swamiji at Siddaganga Math, a Lingayat seminary. The religious leader, who was known as the 'Walking God' among his followers, passed away last year at the age of 111.
But in the context of the anti-CAA protests, the visit turned political. Police arrested a large number of farmers who protested during the Prime Minister’s visit to Tumakuru to present awards to 32 farmers.
Some of them shouted slogans like ‘Go back Modi’ for neglecting farmers. “We don’t want mere lip sympathy. We demand the implementation of the Swaminathan report (which recommends a national policy on the farming sector),” one farmer leader said.
Protesting farmers were also arrested on the outskirts of Bengaluru in Nelamangala, Herohalli, Magadi, Kunigal and Koratagere.
Two former chief ministers of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah of the Congress and H D Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (S) tweeted strong views directed at the Prime Minister, in particular at the central government’s treatment of Karnataka’s needs for funds.
In two hard-hitting tweets, Siddaramaiah alleged, "You (Modi) did not visit Karnataka when it was devastated by floods, you did not visit Karnataka when our farmers cried for help, but all of a sudden, when you want to launch your political propaganda, you remember the innocent people of Karnataka. Wah Modi Wah!!".
The Congress leader claimed Karnataka was denied adequate flood relief, GST revenue compensation and grants-in-aid. "Before attempting to fool our people, let the people of Karnataka know when they will get their due share!" he said.
Kumaraswamy pitched in with similar queries. "What's the reason (behind the poor economic situation)? The poor economic policies of the Centre. After swallowing the GDP and development of the country, wrong policies have affected the state too," alleged Kumaraswamy.
Quoting reports, Kumaraswamy said the Centre has denied Karnataka its share of revenue. "About 5.44 per cent of state's share is yet to come from the Centre. This is step-motherly attitude of the Centre towards the state," Kumaraswamy tweeted....