NA Haris, the Congress lawmaker in Karnataka accused of trying to protect his son from arrest for assaulting a young man at a cafe in Bengaluru, put out a public apology today and said: “Children make mistakes…we cannot disown or abandon them.”
Mr Haris’ son Mohammad Nalapad, 24, was arrested on Monday after he surrendered along with six more accused. He has been charged with attempt to murder among charges.
Last week, Nalapad allegedly walked up to a man who was having dinner at a cafe in the upscale UB City mall, with his bandaged foot on a table. Nalapad allegedly asked him to remove it and “sit properly”. When Vidwath refused, he was attacked by the group and beaten so severely that his eyes were swollen shut and his clothes were blood-soaked. He is in the ICU.
The incident has deeply embarrassed the ruling Congress just months ahead of elections in Karnataka. The party has suspended Nalapad, who is a youth leader.
Mr Haris was accused of shielding his son, who was arrested two days after the incident. The opposition BJP said the lawmaker delayed his son’s arrest by almost 40 hours, a charge that he has denied. The BJP also accused the government of going soft on the accused.
In a statement today, Mr Haris said: “It doesn’t matter what positions their parents hold in society, they are our children. As a parent I guarantee that I will make sure I do all I can to make my son not only a better person but a better human being.”
The lawmaker also said he “appealed to the opposition as well to allow me to correct my son’s mistakes.”
The BJP is not satisfied and is calling for action against the legislator.
Tejaswi Surya of the BJP said, “The Congress is not taking action against MLA Haris saying they can’t punish a father for a crime committed by his son. But the main culprit in this case is Haris, who has abused his office to prevent proper investigation. He must be sacked for a fair investigation. “
Veteran Congress leader Veerappa Moily denied that the episode had embarrassed the Congress. “It is not an embarrassment. It has been dealt with accordingly with the law. I don’t think he has been spared just because he’s the son of a MLA of the Congress party. We have solved a number of cases. When it comes to law and order Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy has become very efficient and he is impartial.”
On allegations of interference, Mr Moily shot back: “Zero. Let them show any instance where we have intervened.”