File photo of Swami Prasad Maurya, credit-PTI
Digging in his heels in the controversy over his comments on Ramcharitmanas, Samajwadi Party leader Swami Prasad Maurya on Thursday said he will continue with his “campaign” unless the ”objectionable” portions in the epic are banned or amended.
He accused the BJP of treating the Dalits and the backward as Hindus only for the sake of votes and said the “humiliation” of these communities should end.
The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council member had recently kicked up a row after commenting that portions of the Hindu text denigrated Dalits and women.
“Swami Prasad Maurya is not afraid of any number of threats to cut off his head, tongue or nose. I have raised the issue of respect for the backward and the deprived,” he told reporters.
“This campaign will continue till the objectionable remarks are modified or banned," said the SP leader, recently appointed as one of the general secretaries in his party.
The former UP minister said he was trying to stop Dalits and the backward from being abused. “We want to end the system of humiliation. So those who consider humiliation their religion, they are getting a stomachache," he said.
“I believe in law and the Constitution,” he said, claiming that he has made his point in a “peaceful manner” and will continue to do so.
He claimed the BJP regards the Dalits and the OBC as Hindus only for votes.
“But when it comes to giving respect, they become strangers. It means you consider them Hindu only to get votes. When it comes to giving Dalits and the backward respect, when it comes to their rights, you consider them enemies. Humiliating them in the garb of religion should stop." He urged all parties to give respect to the “Shudra community” and women, saying they constituted “97 per cent” of the country’s population. “The tradition of humiliation in the name of religion should be stopped immediately." At least two FIRs have been registered against Maurya in Lucknow, one of them after photocopies of some portions of the sacred text were burned in a protest held by an OBC organisation.
BJP leaders and some seers have criticised Maurya over the remarks, and there have been threats against him.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has defended the legislator, saying he will ask Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath the meaning of the verse which Maurya says humiliates sections of society.
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