Days after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had to firefight the controversy stirred by coalition partner RJD’s leader, and Education Minister, Chandrashekhar, over his remarks on some couplets of the epic ‘Ramcharitmanas’, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav today attempted to douse another stir created by ally JD(U)’s national general secretary Gulam Rasool Balyawi.
“There’s no space for fundamentalism,” he said, when asked to comment on Mr Balyawi’s recent remark that Muslims will turn cities into “Karbala” if anyone tries to disrespect Prophet Muhammad.
Mr Balyawi was recently seen in a now viral video clip making a speech at the Karbala Maidan near Barhi town of Hazaribagh district where he made the remark, drawing flak from opposition BJP.
“Agar mere aaka ki izzat par hath daloge toh, abhi toh hum Karbala Maidan mein ekattha hai, unki izzat ke liye hum shahron ko bhi Karbala bana denge (If you disrespect Prophet Muhammad, right now we are gathered at the Karbala Maidan, we will turn cities into ‘Karbala’ for his honour),” he said while addressing a religious gathering of Muslims on Wednesday.
Karbala is a city in central Iraq, best known as the location of the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD, where it is believed that Prophet Muhammed’s grandson Imam Hussein, along with 72 followers and members of his family, were slaughtered in battle for the cause of Islam.
At the gathering, Mr Balyawi had also slammed now suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, whose controversial remarks on the Prophet led to violent protest across the country and a huge diplomatic backlash, and said “not a single secular leader” demanded her arrest.
“On the other hand, when our children came on roads to protest offensive comments against the Prophet (in Ranchi), they were shot dead,” he added.
On Tuesday, responding to media queries on Education Minister Chandrashekhar’s claim that the Ramcharitmanas, a poem based on the epic ‘Ramayana’, “spreads hatred in the society” and certain parts of it propagate discrimination again certain castes, Nitish Kumar had said the state government respects all religions and advocates for the freedom for all to follow any religion.
Mr Kumar’s reaction came after his party colleague, MLA Sanjeev Kumar, slammed ally RJD’s Chandrashekharm saying he should either apologise or give up Hinduism.
Tejashwi Yadav, to project a united front and downplay tensions between leaders of the coalition partners then, had reiterated that there was a good understanding between his father Lalu Prasad, the RJD president, and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the JD(U) supremo, both of whom were “sheersh neta” (top leaders) of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ and, hence, it did not matter what others in either party said.
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