Karnataka to ban RSS, reverse Hijab law? Congress MLAs make contradictory claims

All India Congress Committee (AICC) President Mallikarjun Kharge’s son and newly-inducted Congress minister from Karnataka Priyank Kharge has said that the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangha (RSS) would be banned int he southern state if they caused ‘disturbance to the peace’. Priyank Kharge, who has been inducted into Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s cabinet as a Minister. is yet to be allocated a portfolio.

Priyank Kharge on Thursday likened Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders with “loose cannons” and warned that they could not make irresponsible comments and get away with it.

While this statement from Priyank Kharge, that was initially mentioned in Congress’ pre-poll manifesto and later omitted, caused some stir from several factions, wherein another Congress senior leader G Parameshwara on Thursday said that the Grand Old Party has had no discussion on banning RSS. 

Parameshwara added that any statement made in this regard by the Congress MLAs would be their personal opinion or in response to media statements. 

On RSS Ban

Congress MLA from Karnataka Priyank Kharge had on Wednesday claimed that RSS could be banned if they harm the peace and stability of the state. Priyank Kharge had said “If anyone breaks the law, they will be treated as per the law of the land, even if it means a ban.”

“We have promised in our manifesto to turn Karnataka into a paradise. If peace is disturbed, we won’t consider if it is Bajrang Dal or any other Sangh Parivar outfit” he had said. “If the BJP leadership finds it unacceptable, they can go to Pakistan,” Priyank added.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Minister G Parameshwara on Thursday said no discussions have taken place till now regarding banning organisations like Bajrang Dal, after the Congress government came to power in the State, and any views expressed in this regard may be personal in response to media queries.

On Hijab Ban

On the subject of Hijab Ban in Karnataka, Priyank Kharge, had said that the Congress government would review all the bans imposed by the previous BJP government and reverse any or take action if they find the laws contentious. 

“We will review the hijab order and the revision of textbooks, besides all legislation, including the anti-cow slaughter and anti-conversion laws, passed by the previous BJP government. If we find any of these laws contentious, communal or going against the social fabric or image of the state, we will consider repealing them,’’ said Priyank. 

The former Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government had issued a circular prohibiting hijabs in schools and pre-university colleges in the state. The matter reached the Karnataka HC, which upheld the decision of the state government. The issue was later taken up in the Supreme Court where a two-judge bench pronounced a split verdict.

“We want to build an economically and socially equal Karnataka. As many as 18,000 minority students have been out of school since the hijab circular came into effect. We want to ensure they return to the mainstream and continue their education,’’ said Priyank Kharge. 

On anti-conversion and cow slaughter laws

The only topic wherein Parameshwara and Priyank Kharge seemed to stay on the same aisle. 

On withdrawing anti-conversion and cow slaughter laws, the Parameswara said, all that is against the society, that disturbs peace in the society, and that is anti-people, whether it is legislations or rules, they will be reviewed.

Priyank Kharge had also mentioned on Wednesday said, “Our government stands firm on reviewing legislation that is unconstitutional, violates the rights of an individual, and affects the image of the state, investment and employment. We want to build an economically and socially equal Karnataka.”

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