After Akbar, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday targetted another Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, claiming that he “forced Kashmiri Pandits to change their religion.”
Addressing a gathering of Banjaras in Lucknow, the chief minister said: “Kashmiri Panditon par jab Aurangzeb ka atyachar prarambh hua tha… Aurangjeb se mukti ke liye Kanshmiri Panditon ka ek group Guru Tegh Bahadur ke paas Delhi mein aata hai aur apni peeda batata hai ki jabardasti humara dharmantran ho raha hai… humein dabaya ja raha hai… apmanit kiya ja raha hai (When Aurangzeb began torturing Kashmiri Pandits, then to free themselves, a group of Kashmiri Pandits met Guru Tegh Bahadur in Delhi and told him about their suffering and how they were being forcefully converted.”
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion.
Aditynath said that Guru Tegh Bahadur came to the rescue of Kashmiri Pandits and asked them not to be afraid of Aurangzeb. “Guru Tegh Bahadur asked them to tell him (Aurangzeb) that they would accept his religion only if their Guru accepts it,” Yogi told the gathering.
“Aurangzeb ko laga ki yeh to bahut aasaan kaam hai, unhone Guru Tegh Bahadur ko giriftar kar ke anek prakar ki yatnayein deni prarambh ki… Lekin Guru Tegh Bahadur tas se mas nahi hue (Aurangzeb thought it was an easy task and got Tegh Bahadur arrested and tortured him, but he did not budge).”
The chief minister said that during that time, people of the Banjara community stood for the honour of Guru Tegh Bahadur and so they should be proud of their ancestors for their contribution to the country and society.
A few days earlier, Adityanath had said that Mughal emperor Akbar was not great and that only 16th century Mewar king Maharana Pratap was. He praised Pratap’s persistence in winning back his forts after years of fight in the Aravalli hills and his refusal to accept Akbar as king.