BJP asks Nitish to apologise for visiting temple with Muslim minister
BJP’s state chief Sanjay Jaiswal demanded a public apology from Kumar and said if the chief minister refuses to apologise, he would face protests
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday criticised Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for hurting Hindu sentiments by visiting Gaya’s Vishnupad Temple, where entry of non-Hindus is prohibited, a day earlier with his Muslim Cabinet colleague. It warned of protests if he failed to apologise.
Mohammad Israil Mansuri, who is in charge of the Gaya district, was among the ministers who accompanied Kumar to the temple to review the preparations for Pitri Paksha Mela from September 9. He told reporters he felt blessed to have visited the temple.
BJP’s state chief Sanjay Jaiswal demanded a public apology from Kumar. “If [he] refuses to apologise, he would face protests in the state assembly.”
Mahesh Gupt, a member of the temple committee, said they could not recognise Mansuri as they had not seen him before. “...he did not appear different from others. But this could have been avoided. There is a notice board at the temple, saying clearly that non-Hindus are not allowed.”
He referred to cleaning at the temple and called it a routine affair. “Cleaning has to be done thrice in a day. Often the devotees leave behind lots of puja materials...and things have to be cleared to maintain cleanliness.”
The temple committee chief Shambhu Lal Vitthal was unavailable for comments.
Deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav said nobody pays attention to the BJP when was asked for comments on the controversy.
Ashok Choudhary, another minister, said the BJP believes Hindus and Muslims must not go to each other’s places of worship. “We visit temples and Muslim shrines with the same spirit.” He added Mansuri may not have been aware of the bar on the entry of non-Hindus into the temple. “But it is not something over which a fuss should be made.”
Kumar ended his alliance with the BJP this month and formed the government in alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and the Left parties.