Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday challenged senior BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal to prove his charge that cleric Syed Tanveer Hashmi, with whom he shared the stage earlier this week, is an ISIS sympathiser.
Calling him a “big liar”, Siddaramaiah told reporters on Thursday, "Yatnal does the politics of hatred. He should not do this to win elections. Now Hashmi has asked him to prove his charge. Let him do it. After all, his government is there at the Centre."
The CM's response comes a day after Yatnal said the state government should probe Hashmi over his alleged terror links.
“The CM had attended a public meeting in Hubballi and I noticed that he shared the stage with a cleric who is funded by Pakistan and has links with ISIS. Let the state government use the intelligence department and check his credentials,” said Yatnal while speaking to reporters in Belagavi on Wednesday.
Hashmi had attended the convention of South India Muslim Religious Leaders’ Conference held in Hubballi on December 4, wherein Siddaramaiah was the chief guest. The organisers of the convention dismissed Yatnal’s claims and dared him to prove his statement with evidence.
Syed Shah Tajuddin Qadri, who organised the conference, said “It was a meet of Muslim religious leaders and Sufi saints which was meant for educational purpose and there was no one with IS links at the event.”
“Yatnal always badmouths others and has spoken ill of his own party leaders. I doubt he has a sound mind. We pray for his well being,” said A.M. Hindasgeri, another organiser.
Meanwhile, Yatnal posted a few photographs on social media allegedly of Tanvir Peera and claimed the photographs were of the cleric on his recent visit to the Middle East where he had met “radical Islam operatives” and “ISIS sympathisers”. He also urged NIA and other agencies to probe into the cleric’s background.
Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar responded to Yatnal's allegation, saying Yatnal needs to be admitted to NIMHANS for treatment.
Yatnal hit back and posted on X, saying, "Shivakumar, who is an accused in a corruption case, needs to book a bed at Narayana Hrudayalaya as it will come handy while seeking bail on health grounds. I am a leader who will not make excuses of BP and sugar to secure bail in the court. I am one who will face anything for the sake of truth."