Exclusive: 'Over CAA, all religions have united against BJP' - U T Khader

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (ANK)

Mangaluru, Feb 10: UT Khader is a four-time MLA representing Mangaluru constituency of the state Legislative Assembly. He is a member of the Congress party. He was the only Congress MLA to win from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts in the 2018 state elections.

Known to be a people-friendly MLA, he had his own share of controversies.

MLA U T Khader was in an exclusive interview on Daijiworld 24x7's Public Challenge with Daijiworld editor-in-chief Walter Nandalike.

Q: You have been a minister for six long years and now you are not as present in the field as you were before. You are seen inviting controversy and people are trolling you for that. What is happening?

A: Power is not important to do any social work. I am not even trying to chase any power. There are no changes in the way I work as a minister or as an MLA. I do not believe in the concept of controversy. In politics, there are issues which should be discussed and the problems of the people should reach the government. I congratulate and thank all those who troll me.

Q: You have openly criticized the opposition for incompletion of the Pumpwell flyover since the past 12 years, but people are questioning you about the 250 houses of the Ombathukere project.

A: Those who question are unaware about the subject of Pumpwell Flyover and Ombathukere. For the past 10 to 12 years the situation of Pumpwell flyover, the problem faced by people, and the accidents occurred at that spot. We never asked for a deadline over the completion of the project, they gave it. It was the party who failed to complete the project on a given date which triggered backlash from the people. What is the connection between Pumpwell and Ombathukere? Regarding Ombathukere, it was completed during the allotment stage and locals approached court and the matter is still in court.

Q: U T Khader is a leader who unites people. You have not been in controversy much. But, you are the one who raised voice when Nalin Kumar Kateel delivered a statement on setting the district on fire. However, not too long ago you made a similar statement and some of the leaders claimed that your statement incited violence in Mangaluru.

A: Whenever people come to my house I never ask about their religion and caste, but I listen to their problems and work to solve it. The whole country is in a state of confusion. The home minister delivered a statement regarding the implementation of NRC. Whereas I clearly stated that North India is burning due to the implementation of the Act, if it is implemented in the state without taking people into confidence, there is a possibility that our state will be on fire. I have just conveyed the feelings of the people to the government. During the time of distress, I will not be apologetic for standing in favour of the people. MP Nalin Kumar Kateel is the one who made the statement of setting the district on fire. On the other hand, I stated that there was a possibility of the state being on fire due to the Act. Soon after the violence, a minister like CT Ravi and other leaders were caught delivering questionable statements. What about them?

Q: U T Khader criticizes BJP and RSS leaders, one of them being, Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat. But the next day you can be seen speaking pleasantly with Bhat in public. Are you mastering the art of deceiving people?

A: Concerning an issue, I will criticize because there will be a difference in beliefs. While in a meeting or official gathering I will be civil and for the reason that I have humanity. If it is issue based, we will speak and discuss.

Q: It is almost one year since your party has been out of power. According to you how well is the present government ruling?

A: The present government cannot work for people. Earlier, we have seen the BJP ruling, three chief ministers were changed, one of the ministers was sent to jail on charges of corruption, and another changed the party. Just for the sake of power, they are in the administration. Now they have given ministership for 10 people, this is not the BJP team that it is ruling but it is the ‘Congress B team’ which is governing the state. This is an example that BJP can go to any extent for power.

Q: Citizenship has become an Act, and national leaders are coming out with a statement that there will be no impact on Indian Muslims. It will be a roadblock for the Muslims coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Whom are you fighting for? Is it for the Muslims of our country or the Muslims of Pakistan?

A: It is not about Hindu, Muslims or Christians, it is a matter of our country. As per our Constitution, it is decided how citizenship should be given. During partition, some people remained here and some people moved to the other side. Under Nehru, governance election was delayed for two years just so that everyone had a voting right because several were left out from the voting list and with the help of a committee, citizenship was given. It is not about Muslims getting bothered by this Act, but the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) goes against the Constitution. For example, if a good Muslim guy from Pakistan who is unhappy with the administration of Imran Khan and desires to reside in India, should be allowed to apply for citizenship. However, availing citizenship is not an immediate process as there are procedures to be followed. The officials will check and later if they want, they will reject it. If a Muslim applies for citizenship and is rejected based on the application then it is fine. It is wrong for not allowing them to even apply just because they are Muslims. This is nothing but the discrimination.

Q: Muslims are in majority in the three countries mentioned in the CAA because they are Islamic states. The Hindus and Christians are minorities in these countries. Why should citizenship be given to Muslims where they are not minorities?

A: Soon after applying, citizenship will not be given. Not allowing to apply itself is discrimination. National Register of Citizens (NRC) is implemented in Assam and an investigation revealed that out of 19 lac excluded people, 14 lac were Hindus and Christians and 5 lac were Muslims. How can we ascertain that these Muslims are from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan? They cannot produce specific documents as they are financially weak. No country will take them in and they will have to end up in a detention centre. Both Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are supplying different statements on NRC. Not one can give clarity to the public. Nor the state's home minister or chief minister Yediyurappa clarified regarding the implementation of NRC. Why did Modi and Shah not visit Assam given the turmoil and the fact that it is a
BJP ruled state?

Q: People are angry with U T Khader for safeguarding Congress leader who attacked a MESCOM worker.

A: People from my constituency are not angry with me and they will not troll me as they know me well. Whoever is criticising me are people from other constituency or those who want to watch me break. I condemn the attack on MESCOM worker whoever it may be. I will not support an act which is unethical even if it is someone from my family. BJP has no valid points to talk about. When Vinayak Baliga was murdered, who safeguarded the accused? Are they not Hindus? There is no question of supporting anyone relating to the attack. I am unaware as to what made the accused do what he did.

Q: Recently there was an anti-CAA protest at Adyar. Before that, firing claimed two lives. Then there were talks going around that people from the neighbouring state participated in the protest. Meanwhile, there was another talk floating that the anti-CAA march brought the Muslims of the district together.

A: Society is under an environment of fear. A nosedive into the matter will create a problem for everyone. A lot of issues which were spilling into social media have given rise to psychological fear among people. Post the scrapping of Article 370, no one knew the extent of the agitation, but it grew when internet was cut off and people were arrested for unclear reasons. Then came the Babri-Masjid ruling where everyone co-operated. But then the CAA was a national level action taken to execute their hidden agenda. BJP intended to divide people based on religion, but the religions have now united against BJP.

Q: What happened in Mangaluru was a spontaneous act or pre-planned?

A: There is a reason we demanded a judicial inquiry. The protest on December 20, 2019, was postponed by the central committee. There was permission for December 19, but suddenly on late night on December 18, section 144 was imposed in all 20 districts of the state. However, there was no incident which may have led to the imposition of Section 144. On December 19, police lati-charged the protestors. Police should have tactfully managed the mob of 250 and should have refrained from using guns. Therefore, judicial inquiry will help in bringing forth the truth.

Q: Discussion is taking place on D K Shivakumar vs Siddaramaiah for KPCC president. This has caused a divide and two groups are formed. Where do you belong?

A: There is no division or groups. I belong solely to the 'Congress group'. Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar are senior leaders and united but they may have different beliefs. We are not like BJP who sideline their senior leaders like Advani or Uma Bharathi. Congress does not follow such policies.

Q: What about Janardhana Poojary?

A: Congress has given election ticket to the MP over five times and Siddaramaiah has cooperated well with Poojary to make him victorious. They are close, but their ideologies may differ.

Watch full interview:





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