Stoking a controversy, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Wednesday claimed that the recent murder of a 22-year-old youth in Bengaluru was because he did not know Urdu, but subsequently retracted it by stating that the incident was actually over road rage.
His statement evoked sharp reaction from opposition parties.
"I have gathered information regarding Chandru's murder. He was asked to speak in Urdu, he didn't know, when he said he didn't know any language other than Kannada, they killed him by stabbing him repeatedly," Jnanendra said.
Noting that the victim was a Dalit youth and has been killed in an inhuman manner, he said the police have already arrested a few persons in connection with the case and further investigation is on.
However, Bengaluru police commissioner Kamal Pant said the killing was over road rage.
"On the midnight of April 4 at around 2:30 am, Simon Raj and Chandru, both friends, had gone to an eatery at Hosaguddadahalli, and as the shop was closed they were returning. While returning on their bike, they collided with another bike, being ridden by one Shahid," he said.
This led to a quarrel.
"During the fight, Shahid along with two friends (who joined him) stabbed Chandru on his right thigh and the assailants fled from the spot.
"Chandru was shifted to Victoria hospital, where he succumbed to his injury. All the three accused are arrested," Pant said.
Later, retracting his statement, Jnanendra said it was source-based information, which was 'wrong.'
"I have just got the detailed report..... I had said it (murder) was due to a language issue, but it is not right.....he had died because of stabbing, following bike collision incident," the minister said.
Hitting out at the Jnanendra, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah said it is 'unfortunate' that he is the home minister of the state and is 'unfit to remain in the position.'
Janata Dal-Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy said the home minister's statement was aimed at disturbing communal harmony in the state and is 'irresponsible.'
"They (ruling BJP) are trying to play politics even in the murder case...." he said.
Reacting to the developments, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is currently in New Delhi said he has no information regarding the incident and would gather them.
"I won't comment without knowing the case details, I will get the case details....based on which I will see what he has said and will comment after that," he said.
Jnanendra had earlier too kicked up a controversy over his comments made in the context of a gang-rape incident in Mysuru.
He had said that the gang-rape survivor and her male friend should not have gone to the deserted place and had claimed that the opposition Congress was trying to ''rape'' him by targetting him, following the incident.