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Bihar Ex-Chief Minister Manjhi Shreds BJP Over Plight of Dalits

Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi addresses a press conference in Patna on March 18, 2020. — IANS file photo

PATNA — Jitan Ram Manjhi, the former chief minister of Bihar, who is facing criticism for his controversial statement on Lord Ram, lashed out at BJP on Thursday by saying that they should also speak about Dalit entry into temples.

Manjhi was referring to the Karnataka incident where the temple administration imposed a fine of Rs 23,000 on a Dalit father, who was offering prayer outside the gate of temple but his two-year-old son entered into it on September 4.

Incidentally, Karnataka is ruled by the BJP, which is also the largest partner in the ruling coalition in Bihar.

“The religious mafias would not say anything about such an incident. They become silent about it. No one will speak on banning Dalit community to enter into the temples. They do not like Dalit people to enter temples or read religious books,” Manjhi said in a tweet in Hindi, while tagging IANS stories.

“Whatever I am saying… is the result of the pain of centuries… We have not expressed our anger so far,” Manjhi further said in the tweet.

Manjhi on Tuesday said that he has no objection to the inclusion of Ramayan in the school syllabus of Bihar. But he created controversy by saying that the story of Ramayan is not based on truth.

“Ramayan has many good things which can be used to educate our children and women. Respecting our elders and women are the features of this book. I have no objection in including Ramayan in the syllabus but I personally believe that it is an imaginary book and I don’t think Ram was a great person and he was alive,” Manjhi said.

Following his statement, BJP MLA Haribhushan Thakur said: “Manjhi put question mark on the existence of Ram. I want to ask question to Manjhi that why his parents named him Jitan Ram Manjhi. Why he is not replacing his middle name with “Rakshas”. He is doing cheap politics in the name of Maryada Purushottam Bhagwan Sri Ram,” Thakur said on Wednesday.

Nikhil Anand, the national general secretary of the OBC wing of the BJP said: “Jitan Ram Manjhi is a senior leader of Bihar and he should avoid giving statements on anything that has chances of polarising the people. His statement is against every great man who came from this soil. Whatever he said against Lord Ram, may hurt a large number of people of the country. It was just cheap politics of Jitan Ram Manjhi.”

The Ramayan is included in the syllabus of the schools of Madhya Pradesh and discussion is currently underway in Bihar to introduce it in the syllabus here as well. — IANS

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