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New Minister In Shadow Of Old Controversy: He Assaulted Doctors On Camera

Bengaluru:  Even before the oath ceremony, one of the new ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was linked to controversies. Ananthkumar Hegde, a five-time parliamentarian from Karnataka, was caught on camera assaulting doctors over his mother’s treatment in January and the footage was pulled out of the archives for fresh circulation today.

A police case had been registered against Mr Hedge at the time.

In CCTV footage from the TSS hospital in Sirsi, around 400 km from Bengaluru, the 49-year-old politician was seen grabbing a doctor by the throat and slamming him against a wall. He was seen slapping and hitting the doctor. Another doctor was also allegedly beaten. In images flashed across the media, the doctors displayed scars and gashes.

Other hospital employees were allegedly pushed by the lawmaker’s aides.

Mr Hegde was apparently furious because he felt the doctors were not paying enough attention to his mother, who had suffered multiple fractures after a fall at home.

The politician who represents the BJP in the Uttara Kannada constituency describes himself as an “agriculturist”. He was elected MP first at the age of 28 after defeating Congress veteran Margaret Alva. He has been a member of parliamentary committees on finance, home affairs, human resource development, commerce, agriculture and external affairs.

Mr Hedge is known to practice Taekwondo.

Last year, he was charged with making a hate speech after he was quoted as saying: “As long as there is Islam in this world, there will be terrorism.” He later defended the comment too.