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KS Eshwarappa, the former deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka is a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He represents the assembly constituency of Shimoga, Karnataka, and has been notoriously famous for his anti-Muslim and Islamophobic speeches.
He was made to resign from his Ministerial position in April 2022 over allegations of involvement in the death of a civil contractor, Santosh Patil. Days before he was found dead in a lodge in Udupi, Karnataka, Patil had accused Eshwaraapa of bribery and corruption.
Eshwarappa is a habitual hate-monger. In 2014, multiple complaints were filed against him for rampant hate speeches against the Muslim community, which he had made during election campaigns in the state that year.
Similarly, on September 15, 2019, while addressing a gathering organized by Hindu extremist outfit Sri Ram Sene in Bengaluru, Eshwarappa, the then Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj said, “there are many such Hijras (transgenders) in Congress party and they wanted votes of Muslims, till date, I have never saluted a Muslim and asked him for a vote. Despite this, I won with a margin of 47,000 votes. Patriotic Muslims would invariably vote for BJP. However, those who wish they were in Pakistan would not.”
He has contributed immensely to nurturing the ecosystem of anti-Muslim hatred in the state of Karnataka. The hate-mongers and vigilantes were groomed under his patronage while he was commanding power as Minister and Deputy Chief Minister in the state. In August 2021, he publicly said that now our workers are emboldened and that they have been given the freedom to retaliate against any potential threat by inflicting double loss to the adversary. He said that he had asked his party workers to “take two for one.”
In February 2022, a Bajrang Dal member Harsha was killed in Shivmogga, Karnataka. Before the police could even initiate an investigation into the matter, Eshwarappa appeared on the scene and blatantly blamed Muslims for his death. Addressing the media he said, “I’m very disturbed by the murder of a Bajrang Dal activist. He was killed by ‘Musalmaan goondas’ (Muslim goons)…We’ll not allow goondaism.”
Eshwarappa is an avowed Hindu nationalist and wants to see India become a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation). He expressed his cherished desire in the following words, “The saffron flag (a symbol of Hindu Nationalism) may become the national flag in this country today or someday. There is no doubt about it. We don’t have to hoist the tricolor whenever they (Congress) tell us. The tricolor is the national flag according to our constitution and we give it whatever respect it deserves.”
In March 2023, he made remarks against the Muslim call to prayer, Azaan and called it a constant problem. He said, “ This Azaan is a headache for me, wherever I go I face this same problem. Does Allah Allah hear prayers only if one screams? Is Allah deaf?” He went on and assured, “ No doubt this too will end soon.”