Jitendra Awhad, the head of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), sparked controversy a few days before the massive Ram temple consecration event in Ayodhya, which is expected to be attended by key officials. Awhad said that “Lord Ram was a non-vegetarian”. Awhad, an NCP supporter of Sharad Pawar, said as much on Wednesday at an event in Shridi, Maharashtra.
“We, the Bahujans, own Lord Ram. He used to hunt and consume wildlife. He belongs to the Bahujan community. They are using Lord Ram’s example to try to convert everyone to vegetarianism. However, Lord Ram was not a vegetarian; rather, he was not a vegan. Where will a 14-year-old who has been living in the wilderness go to obtain vegetarian food?” Stated Mr. Awhad—a reference to the time in the Hindu epic Ramayana when Lord Ram lived in the trees.
The remarks have caused a great deal of controversy, with some calling for legal action against him for offending religious feelings. They were made just before the new Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, is officially dedicated later this month.
Controversy around the statement of Jitendra Awhad
On Wednesday night, a sizable contingent of NCP members loyal to Ajit Pawar showed up outside Mr. Awhad’s Mumbai residence and sang anti-Awhad chants. This morning, the demonstrators made a comeback with a poster of Mr. Awhad that they had repeatedly struck with slippers.
More police officers have been stationed in front of Mr. Awhad’s residence. The demonstrators, led by BJP MLA Ram Kadam, declared they would march to the closest police station and file a complaint against the NCP MLA for making remarks that offended Hindu emotions.
“All devotees of Lord Ram will file a police case against Jitendra Awhad,” Mr. Kadam said. Mr. Kadam, alluding to the organ of the Shiv Sena, wrote on X. “If Balasaheb were alive, today’s Saamana newspaper would have spoken harshly to those who called Lord Ram a non-vegetarian.”
“But what is the situation like now? Anybody may make fun of Hindus and say anything they want about Lord Ram. They don’t give a damn. They possess an icy coldness. However, they would bring up Hindutva when election time comes,” the BJP MLA stated.
But Mr. Awhad didn’t end there with Lord Ram. He persisted and sparked yet another controversy when he said that Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were the only reasons India gained freedom.
“The fact is that Gandhi and Nehru alone are responsible for our freedom, regardless of what anyone may argue. Mr. Awhad stated that although Gandhi Ji was not slain in 1947. There had been three attacks on him: one in 1935, one in 1938, and one in 1942.
“After all, Gandhi Ji was a trader and an OBC (Other Backward Classes). So why did they attack him so frequently? The BJP’s ideological guru, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was not however amenable to the idea that the head of such a large independence movement was an OBC. According to the MLA of the Sharad Pawar NCP group.
The police and local government in Ayodhya are preparing for the expected influx of people for the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple. Steps have been taken to guarantee that the consecration event of the temple proceeds without hiccups, including tightening security.