Karnataka Cong demands arrest of BJP MLA Yatnal for passing ‘defamatory’ remarks on Doreswamy

Ralph Alex Arakal

"Yatnal who disrespected and defamed the freedom fighter should be arrested," the party members protested.

A day after Union Minister and BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal passed a remark on veteran freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, Karnataka Congress Wednesday staged a protest in the legislative assembly demanding his arrest.

The party leaders protesting shouted slogans demanding immediate police action. "Yatnal who disrespected and defamed the freedom fighter should be arrested," they said.

The protests led by former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah was attended by other MLAs Eshwar Khandre, Ramalinga Reddy, Sowmya Reddy, Zameer Ahmed and former minister Jaimala among others who gathered in front of the Gandhi statue in Bengaluru's Vidhana Soudha premises.

Yatnal on Tuesday had called the 101-year-old Doreswamy a “fake freedom fighter” and a “Pakistani agent” addressing the media in Vijayapura. “That old man in Bengaluru (Doreswamy) is a fake freedom fighter and acts as a Pakistani agent," Yatnal had said responding to Siddaramaiah's questioning the role of the BJP and Sangh Parivar in a rally titled 'Save Constitution Andolan' in Vijayapura on Monday.

Yatnal also took a jibe at Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi asking whether they participated in the freedom movement. The MLA from Viajayapura City constituency later added that those who raise "anti-India statements" should be shot dead rather than being sent to jail.

As the remark turned controversial, Doreswamy said in Bengaluru that it is better not to react to such statements. "He speaks like a stupid person and hence it is better not to react," the freedom fighter said at his residence in Jayanagar.

However, opposition leaders soon condemned the remark alleging Yatnal of defaming the veteran leader.

"Really sad and unfortunate that Sri. Doreswamy has to hear such things from people belonging to a party that has never done a single thing for the freedom struggle. The extent people will go to get their masters’ attention for a berth!!," former minister and Congress MLA Priyank Kharge wrote on Twitter.