Taking on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat after his remark that all people are equal before God, Samajwadi Party leaders have asked him to clarify the ground reality of the caste system and “get casteist comments removed” from Ramcharitmanas.
At a public event in Mumbai on Sunday, Bhagwat had said everyone is equal in the eyes of God. “All these things were created by priests, which is wrong,” he said. Bhagwat’s comment came against the backdrop of the controversy triggered by SP’s Swami Prasad Maurya after he recently demanded the “removal of portions” from Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas that he said denigrated Dalits and women.
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Reacting to Bhagwat’s remarks that caste doesn’t exist before God, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted in Hindi on Monday, “Please clarify what is the reality of the caste system before human beings.”
While Yadav limited himself to this comment, Maurya reiterated his demand to expunge the offending portions from Ramcharitmanas. “By saying that the caste system was created by pundits (Brahmins), Bhagwat has exposed the so-called contractors of religion and frauds who abuse women, tribals, Dalits and the backward in the guise of religion. Come forward at least now to remove objectionable comments in Ramcharitmanas,” Maurya, who is a party general secretary, tweeted earlier in Hindi.
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Unless this statement was made under compulsion, he should show courage and ask the government to get caste-indicative words that insult such sections removed, the OBC leader said.
Maurya was cabinet minister in the previous BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, but resigned and joined the SP before the 2022 assembly polls. He lost the election for the Fazilnagar seat in Kushinagar district but was later sent to the legislative council by his new party.
At least two FIRs have been lodged against him in UP after his comments on Ramcharitmanas, including a case registered after some OBC protesters burned photocopies of extracts from the sacred book. Uttar Pradesh has invoked the stringent National Security Act against two of these protesters.
(With Agency inputs)