Ananth Kumar Hegde is a former Union Minister and a Karnataka-based Hindu extremist politician. He is a parliamentarian from Uttara Kannada, Karnataka.
Hegde is a seasoned hate-monger who is audacious enough to say that his people are proud of him when he makes such controversial statements. The politician has a checkered criminal history, including multiple cases of rioting and inciting violence. In 1993, he was accused of rioting, unlawful assembly, and promoting enmity for his involvement in the Bhatkal (Karnataka) riots. Nineteen people were killed in riots – 10 Muslims and 9 Hindus. Many residential areas were attacked during these riots, and religious ghettos formed as a result.
He has constantly been spewing anti-Muslim venom ever since. One can estimate the intensity of his baleful Islamophobic mentality when he says, “As long as there is Islam in the world, there will be terrorism. Until we uproot Islam, we can’t remove terrorism.”
“If there is an opportunity in the media – write exactly this. Telecast exactly this. Islam is a bomb for world peace. There will be no peace in the world as long as Islam is there,” he said.
In 2017 he made headlines for assaulting doctors and medical staff at a hospital in Uttara Kannada for alleged negligence in treating his mother and was consequently booked for causing damage to property in a medical facility and under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
During the 2019 Covid pandemic, Hegde accused Muslims of purposefully “spreading the virus to undermine the sovereignty of India.” In response to his inflammatory tweets, his account was allegedly suspended.
He openly advocates violence and instigates people to take the law into their own hands. Addressing a rally organized by the Hindu Jagarana Vedike in Karnataka’s Kodagu district, he said, “There should be a fundamental shift in our thinking. We should keenly observe what’s happening around us. Regardless of caste and religion, a hand that touches a Hindu girl should not exist.”
“We are here to change the constitution” and get rid of the word “secular,” said Hegde, the then Union Minister, during an event in Koppal, Karnataka. He made himself clearer on another occasion by saying, “We (Bharatiya Janata Party) are not aiming to defeat someone or even to rule. Our goal is clear. The saffron flag (a symbol of Hindutva, i.e., Hindu Nationalism and the flag of the RSS) must be flying in front of us. The whole world should respect the saffron flag,”
Hedge didn’t even spare Mahatma Gandhi and said that the freedom struggle led by him was a “drama” that was “staged with the consent and support of the British.” He also questioned how “such people” come to be called ‘Mahatma’ (a revered person regarded with respect) in India.
He is a caste chauvinist who believes that ‘Jaati’ (caste) is “the identification of one’s blood.” His deep-seated misogyny has also surfaced time again. He once identified a congress leader as the “one who ran behind a Muslim lady.” In another instance, he likened the controversy surrounding the entry of women in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple to rape.