Bengaluru: Photographs of entire staff of Kapu police station in Udupi district and Vijayapura Rural district in Karnataka clad in saffron attire during Dasara celebrations, has sparked a political row between opposition Congress and ruling BJP.
As soon as the photos went viral, Siddaramaiah, the opposition leader, attacked the ruling BJP and the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
"Why did you only change the police uniform? Provide 'trishuls' (sacred weapons used by Hindu gods and goddesses) and ask them to indulge in violence. Your dreams of establishing jungle raj could come true," Siddaramaiah took to Twitter and confronted the ruling BJP and Bommai.
Further, he stated: "On the one hand, police illegally harass youth and on the other a legislator storms into a police station to get the accused released. Elsewhere, tridents are distributed openly and calls are given for violence. All these get open support from the Chief Minister. Is there governance in the State?"
He also tagged two group photographs of the police personnel at Kaup police station in Udupi district and Vijayapura Rural Police station. The police personnel in these police stations had shed their khaki uniform to don the saffron on Vijayadashami day. While personnel in Vijayapura wore a saffron shawl, at Kaup police personnel they wore a saffron shirt.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Udupi, Raghupathi Bhat questioned Siddaramaiah as to why he was so scared about saffron. He warned Siddaramaiah that if he opposes saffron then he is going to be further sidelined. Saffron stands for sacrifice. "We have worshipped saffron since times immemorial in this country," he said.
"Siddaramaiah is saying this to appease minorities and trying to symbolise saffron with violence. While he opposed police cladding saffron during the festival, he wore Tipu Sultan's hat and held a sword, then he did not realise unity and integrity. What would be his problem if police wore saffron," he questioned.
"The Congress party is in a pathetic state as it is opposing saffron. Our national flag has saffron colour. Wearing saffron robes is not an act of crime. Siddaramaiah had revealed his mindset by his attacks. Trishul is not a murder weapon, it is worshipped. In that case, police should be given trishuls. Actually Siddaramaiah had come up with a good idea," he chided.
The photos of the Hindu outfits distributing trishuls to activists on the occasion of 'Vijayadashami' in Dakshina Kannada have also gone viral. Mangaluru police Commissioner N. Shashikumar said the police department would look into the case.
The Hindu leaders have clarified that trishuls are being distributed every year during the festival and the weapons are not sharp edged. They are blunt and distributed to activists as a part of traditions.