CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury triggered a controversy on Thursday, saying that it would be wrong to say Hindus can’t be violent because there are ample examples in epics and history that Hindu rulers were not averse to violence.
At a symposium on “Parliamentary system-elections and democracy’’ in Bhopal on Thursday, the CPI(M) leader referred to BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s assertion that “Hindus don’t believe in violence” and said the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are filled with instances of violence. “An attempt is made to portray followers of other religions as violent,’’ he said.
He alleged that the BJP tried to change the political narrative by fielding Pragya Singh after sensing defeat in the first three phases of polling. He said the BJP had been trying to polarise voters on communal lines for a long time.
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Congress candidate from Bhopal and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh was also present at the event.
Yechury alleged that from the beginning, the RSS aimed at “Hindukaran’’ (saffronisation) of sena (military) and militarisation of Hindus and said its model was based on the one followed by Mussolini in Italy.
He said there was a spurt in terror incidents in the last five years, leading to deaths of security personnel and civilians. Referring to terror incidents in Kashmir and the recent Maoist attack in Gadchiroli, he said, “How can it be said that the country is in safe hands?’’
The BJP hit back later in the day, claiming it is yet another instance of vote bank politics by a “desperate opposition”, and sought an apology from Yechury.
“We demand an apology from him for trying to defame the Hindu religion and spreading lies and hate against Hindu epics and scriptures that have promoted noble values like victory of good over the evil, universal brotherhood and non-violence,” BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said in a statement.
“Sitaram Yechury has gone on to blame Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata by fraudulently claiming that they preach violence. Yechury has found instant acceptance of his senseless statements from friendly parties indulging in similar politics of appeasement,” the BJP spokesperson said.
“We strongly condemn the statement of Sitaram Yechury and demand an apology from him,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI, New Delhi)