Arrest Reddy or I’ll go to Ballari: Zameer Khan

BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan. (DH Photo)

Congress leader BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan has set a one-week deadline for the BS Yediyurappa government to arrest BJP legislator G Somashekhar Reddy for his controversial statement on Muslims. 

Reddy has been booked for making a provocative speech in Ballari last week in which he said that Hindus outnumbered the Muslims. "Hindus are 80% of the population while minorities are 17%. What will happen to you if we hit back? Hence, you should be very careful about your moves and steps." This was during a pro-CAA rally. 

“It’s Monday today. If the government fails to arrest Reddy in a week, I will picket outside his next Monday, come what may. Let them do whatever they want,” Khan, the Congress’ Muslim face in Karnataka, told reporters. “Mr Somashekhar Reddy, I’m coming to Ballari next Monday.” 

Quoting Reddy, Khan said the BJP legislator had threatened Muslims. “He says, ‘We're 83% and they are 17% and if we take Shiva's trident and come out, what'll happen?’ Is this what a legislator says? He’s making such statement for political convenience,” Khan, a former minister, said.  

Khan also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “PM Modi keeps saying that he has 130 crore people with him; he chants Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. But what is happening in your party? The PM says he belongs to everybody, but here’s someone from his own party...” 

Someshekhar represents the Bellary City constituency and is the brother of tainted mining baron G Janardhana Reddy. 

Following outrage over his speech, Reddy clarified in Ballari thus: “I was only referring to those who are damaging property. But they (Muslims) are innocents. They’re being misled saying they’ll be driven away. Who can drive them out? We’re born in this country, we’ve eaten together off the same plate, we give them chitranna during our festival and they give biryani during theirs...we’ve never shown discrimination. Only the Congress has filed a complaint against me to further its own political stand.”

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