KATHMANDU: At a time when diplomatic relations between Nepal and India are at a sensitive juncture over border issues, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has thrown a controversial statement that could further elevate tensions in the bordering countries.
Speaking at an event organised to commemorate poet Bhanubhakta‘s birth anniversary in his official residence, PM Oli made an off-the-mark comment that India is manipulating cultural and historical facts by creating a fake Ayodhya in India, which in fact is a village west of Birgunj.
“We did not give Sita, who was born in Janakpur, to an Indian prince but Sita was married to Ram of Ayodhya, not of India,” the PM remarked, adding that Ayodhya was later created in India encroaching upon facts.
He ‘reasoned’ that a prince from a place that far away could not possible come to Janakpur to marry Sita as there were no means of communication and easy transportation during those times.
“There is a huge controversy in ‘their’ Ayodhya while our Ayodhya, that lies in the Thori village, has no issues as such.”
He did not provide any Archaeological evidences or cite references to back his statement.
PM Oli, as usual, in his pursuit of over-glorification of the ‘national-identity’, went on to claim that science and knowledge originated and developed in Nepal.
This is not the first time that the head of the government made such exaggerated remarks.
However, many weren’t convinced by the Prime Minister’s take on the ‘facts’ and warned that the issue could escalate, inflating the existing tensions further.
Co-chairperson of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Kamal Thapa said that it is not suitable for such baseless, unproven statements to come from a Prime Minister. “It looks like the PM wants to further spoil Nepal-India relations rather than working to resolve tensions,” Thapa tweeted.
प्रमको स्तरबाट यस्ता उटपट्यांग,अपुष्ट र अप्रमाणित कुरा आउनु सर्वथा उपयुक्त छैन।भारतसंग सम्बन्ध सुधार्ने भन्दा बिगार्ने तर्फ प्रमको ध्यान गए जस्तो लाग्छ।नक्सा प्रकाशित गरेर अतिक्रमित भूमी फिर्ताल्याउने प्रयास गर्न छाडेर दुई देशको सम्बन्धमा अनाबश्यक विवाद सिर्जना गर्नु राम्रो होईन https://t.co/jzP5hcH4qu
— Kamal Thapa (@KTnepal) July 13, 2020
Likewise, former vice-chair of National Planning Commission Swarnim Wagle warned that Indian media could pick up and make controversial headlines out of the PM’s statement tomorrow.
हे राम !!
भोलिको भारतीय समाचार: "Oli disavows Ayodhya's Ram, declares him to be Nepali from Birgunj"https://t.co/5yjwKznChp
— Swarnim Waglé (@SwarnimWagle) July 13, 2020
Oli’s unfounded claims did not sit well with ruling party leaders either.
पदमा बसेर बेतुकका र असान्दर्भिक कुरा बोल्दा राष्ट्रकै शीर झुक्छ ।अप्रमाणित, पौराणिक र विवादास्पद कुरा बोलेर विद्वान भइन्छ भन्नु ठूलो भ्रम हो । फुकीफुकी पाइला चालेर भूमि फिर्ता ल्याउनुपर्ने बेलामा विरोध र उत्तेजनाका लागि एकपछि अर्को मसला दिइनु दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण मात्र होइन, रहस्यमय छ।
— Bishnu Rijal (@bishnurijal1) July 13, 2020
Social media users have been showering comments on the news of Prime Minister’s Ayodhya statement – some ridiculing, some taking it lightly, while some seriously questioning the claims. The PM had, however, mentioned at the event that many intellectuals would make fun of him for saying that Ram belonged to Nepal.
It is to be noted that currently, the diplomatic relations between Nepal and India are at a low due to the ongoing dispute over Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani.
Moreover, the Ayodhya issue is dealt with much sensitivity in India given the decades-long controversy which was recently ‘settled’ after India’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of Ram temple while ordering that alternative land be given to Muslims to build a mosque.
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