Nepal envoy raises safety of citizens with UP CM
Members of Vishwa Hindu Sena tonsured the Nepalese man and forced him to shout “Jai Sri Ram” and anti-Nepal slogans in Varanasi on Thursday. The members of the group, who made a video of the incident, also wrote “Jai Sri Ram” on his scalp.Updated: Jul 17, 2020, 18:07 IST
A little-known group shaved off the hair of a Nepalese man in Varanasi to protest Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s comments on the origins of Lord Ram, prompting Nepal’s envoy to take up the matter with the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday.
Members of Vishwa Hindu Sena tonsured the Nepalese man and forced him to shout “Jai Sri Ram” and anti-Nepal slogans in Varanasi on Thursday. The members of the group, who made a video of the incident, also wrote “Jai Sri Ram” on his scalp.
After the video made by the group went viral on social media, Nepal’s ambassador Nilamber Acharya spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Friday and raised the matter of ensuring the safety and security of all Nepalese citizens in the state, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.
“We have raised the matter with authorities in India. People’s safety is important,” one of the people cited above said, without giving details.
The people said Nepal’s envoy was given an assurance about the safety of Nepalese citizens in the country. The two sides also agreed such matters shouldn’t have an impact on bilateral relations, they said.
Oli sparked a controversy with his recent remarks that the “real” Ayodhya is in Nepal and that Lord Ram was Nepalese. He had also said Nepal had “become a victim of cultural encroachment” and its history was manipulated.
“Although the real Ayodhya lies at Thori in the west of Birgunj, India has claimed the Indian site as the birthplace of Lord Ram,” Oli was quoted as saying by the media.
The Nepal government subsequently clarified Oli’s remarks reflected the many myths about Lord Ram and highlighted the need for further research on the “vast cultural geography” of the Ramayana. It also clarified the remarks “are not linked to any political subject” and there was “no intention at all to hurt the feeling and sentiment of anyone”.
The controversy came close on the heels of a border row between India and Nepal, which erupted after New Delhi opened a new road to Lipulekh on the Tibet border and Kathmandu published a new map showing Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepalese territory.
Meanwhile, police in Varanasi have registered a first information report (FIR) against Vishwa Hindu Sena chief Arun Pathak, who acknowledged in a Facebook post that members of his group had tonsured the Nepalese man over Oli’s remarks.
Vishwa Hindu Sena had also put up posters in Varanasi that said Nepal’s prime minister should stop “acting at the instance of China”.