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Updated January 4th, 2024 at 15:59 IST

It's controversial/ Jitendra Awhad Apologizes Amid Calls for Action as His Controversial Remarks Spark Heated Debate

The controversy began when Awhad made a remark about Lord Ram during a public event, stating: “Rama belongs to minorities”.

Sandip Singh
The controversy began when Awhad made a remark about Lord Ram, stating: “Rama belongs to minorities”.
The controversy began when Awhad made a remark about Lord Ram, stating: “Rama belongs to minorities”. | Image:ANI
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NEW DELHI: In a recent turn of events, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Jitendra Awhad found himself at the center of a controversy on Thursday, following his statements that have ignited a heated debate amid strong reactions coming in from the leaders across the political spectrum.

The controversy began when Awhad made a remark about Lord Ram during a public event, stating: “Rama belongs to minorities”. 

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“[Lord] Ram – who hunts and eats – belongs to us; he belongs to the minority community. On one end, you want to turn us vegan, but Ram was a non-vegetarian”, Awhad had said, adding: “We follow the ideals of [Lord] Ram, who lived in the forest for a duration of 14 years. Where could he go to find vegetarian food?”

Awhad's remarks triggered widespread backlash, not only from within his own party, but also from other political leaders, including those aligned with the Hindutva ideology. Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat told Republic that Awhad's statement was not his own, but allegedly reflected the views of NCP leader Sharad Pawar, who was present at the event. 

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Shirsat further expressed his disapproval, saying: "People like him who insult Hindu gods should be burnt alive," and questioned the silence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the matter.

Adding to the condemnation, Cabinet Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha criticized Awhad for his habit of making controversial statements, terming them as “a ploy for publicity”. 

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Lodha further demanded strict actions against the NCP MLA from the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.

In response to the mounting criticism, Jitendra Awhad later issued an apology, while still standing by his initial statement. 

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Awhad said, "I haven't said anything without studying. But despite that, if my statements have hurt the sentiments, then I apologize for it." He further elaborated on his perspective, emphasizing on Lord Ram's inclusivity by highlighting the story of Shabri – in reference to a character from the ‘Ramayana’.

As the controversy unfolds, political observers are anticipating further developments, including potential actions by party leaders and the government. The incident has once again brought to the light the delicate intersection of religion, politics, and public sentiments in the political landscape.

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Published January 4th, 2024 at 15:34 IST

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