Ramcharitmanas row: Tejashwi defends Minister’s freedom of speech; RJD-JDU split deepens

A day after Tejashwi Yadav defended Chandrashekhar’s controversial remarks on Ramcharatimanas as a matter of freedom of speech. JDU on Monday stepped up its demand for an apology

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By: Santosh Singh
Updated: 16 January, 2023 8:08 pm IST
CM Nitish Kumar with his deputy Tejashwi Yadav (file photo)

The Ramcharitmanas row on Monday deepened the split in the ruling Mahagathbandhan. A day after Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav defended Chandrashekhar’s controversial remarks on Ramcharatimanas as a matter of freedom of speech, JDU on Monday stepped up its demand for an apology from him.

JDU spokesperson Abhishek Jha has demanded an apology from Education Minister Chandrashekhar Yadav. He said that Chandrasekhar Yadav should apologize publicly.

“Let it be known that the spokesperson of JDU is constantly demanding an apology from the Minister of Education. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar ensures that people of all religions can live freely. No person should make such statements while in a responsible position and should apologize immediately. His party should intervene in this matter. Our agenda is development. But JDU does not support such things,” Jha said in a video.

On Sunday during his interaction with the media at the Patna airport, Tejawshi said that for his party treated the constitution as a holy book. “The constitution asks us to treat every religion equally. It also gives us the right of expression,” he said while dismissing claims of a crisis in Mahagathbandhan.

Earlier, JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha condemned Chandrashekhar’s statement on Ramcharitmanas. He said such statements go on to benefit the BJP’s agenda of polarisation. “The statement will directly benefit BJP. The topic he spoke on is the agenda of the BJP. Speaking on its agenda means playing on its pitch. Who will benefit from it? he said while talking to the media.

A group of JDU leaders also recited Ramcharitmanas to protest against Chandrashekhar’s comments. On Saturday JDU MLC  Neeraj Kumar and his followers did “manas path” at a Hanuman mandir in Patna’s Rajbansi Nagar as mark of their protest.

JD(U) leader and Bihar’s building construction minister Ashok Choudhary had also criticized his cabinet colleague for making controversial remarks on Ramcharitmanas. He said such remarks create the impression that “leaders of the ruling grand alliance are anti-Ramcharitmanas and anti-Hindu.”

Bihar Education Minister Chandra Sekhar had raked up a controversy by calling Ramcharitmanas written by 16th-century Bhakti poet Tulsidas, “an epic that spreads hatred”. He said the book was in the same league as Manusmirit and ‘Bunch of Thoughts’ written by RSS leader MS Golwalkar.

“These epics that spread hatred have come in every age. First there was Manusmriti, then there was Ramcharitmanas, and after that there was Golwalkar’s Bunch of thoughts. These books divide our society on hatred,” Sekhar said while interacting with the media during the Graduation ceremony of Nalanda Open University on Wednesday.

Explaining why he feels that Ramcharitmanas spreads hatred and divides society, he said, “The epic has verses in which its written that if Adham or neech (backward communities) jaati gets educated, they become poisonous, just like a snake becomes poisonous on consuming milk.”


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