“Ram Was Not God, Was Character In Story”, Says Former CM Of Bihar

Patna: A key BJP ally in Bihar has stunned many in the ruling alliance with his comments on Lord Ram. “I don’t believe in Ram. Ram was not God. Ram was a character created by Tulsidas and Valmiki to spread their message,” former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has said.

“They wrote the Ramayan and there are many good lessons in their writings. We believe that. We believe in Tulsidas and Valmiki, not Ram,” said Mr Manjhi, whose son Santosh Manjhi is in the Nitish Kumar-BJP cabinet in Bihar.

Mr Manjhi, the leader of the Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM), a coalition partner in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, was speaking at an event commemorating the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, the architect of India’s constitution, on Thursday.

“If you believe in Ram, then the story we always heard is that Ram ate fruit tasted by Shabari. You will not eat the fruit we bite into but at least eat what we touch,” Mr Manjhi said, apparently referring to the caste divide in the country.

He claimed that the world is divided into only two castes: affluent and poor. He also went after Brahmins, accusing them of prejudice against Dalits.

Mr Manjhi’s remarks come as certain states deal with the fallout from confrontations during Ram Navami processions, which commemorate the birth of Lord Ram.

On Sunday, clashes erupted during Ram Navami celebrations in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. Two people were murdered, and several others were injured.

Arson and violence erupted in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh, after stones were thrown at a Ram Navami procession traveling through a Muslim-dominated section of town. Since then, the state’s BJP government has detained 94 people and initiated a demolition campaign against those who are accused of throwing stones at the parade.

Mr Manjhi’s remarks may irritate ally BJP, which has historically placed Lord Ram at the center of its philosophy.

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