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Bihar Edu Minister Chandrasekhar Criticises Ramcharitmanas over Caste Remarks

He added, “Unless the castes of those stepping in the gutter are changed, there will be a need for a reservation and caste census in this country.”

Bihar Education Minister Chandra Shekhar

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Patna: Bihar Education Minister Chandra Shekhar has triggered a fresh controversy after he reportedly claimed that there is “potassium cyanide” in the Hindu epic poem Ramcharitmanas.

Soon after the comment, the opposition BJP leaders launched a scathing attack and demanded his removal, reportedly terming him “a mental man”.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD-U has distanced itself from his statement which has led to a controversy in political circles here.

The minister reportedly said, “Ramcharitmanas mein potassium cyanide hai, jab tak yeh rahega, tab tak iska virodh karte
(Ramcharitmanas has potassium cyanide in it. As long as exists, we will oppose it). He was speaking at an event to mark Hindi Diwas on Thursday.

“If you serve 55 kinds of dishes and mix potassium cyanide into it, would you eat it? Same is the case with scriptures of Hinduism," Chandra Shekhar said.

He added, “Unless the castes of those stepping in the gutter are changed, there will be a need for a reservation and caste census in this country.”

Shekhar also said that an appeal to “cut his tongue” was made before, now people would be asked to “cut [his] throat”.

This is not the first time the minister has courted controversy for criticising Ramcharitmanas. In January, the RJD minister had said that Ramcharitmanas 'spreads hatred in society'.

Two BJP allies, former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi and LJP’s Chirag Paswan,
attacked Chandra Shekhar over his recent remark. Both Manjhi and Paswan are dalit leaders.

Ironically, months before joining hands with the BJP, Manjhi had raised questions over the very existence of Hindu god Ram and had repeatedly claimed that Ram was “kalpnik” (imaginary). He has time and again targeted BJP’s Hindutva politics based on Ram and Ramayana until early this year.

But he was let in with open arms by the BJP into the fold of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Chandra Shekhar, a college teacher turned politician, stated that the 'Ramcharitmanas', written by Tulsidas, says that lower caste people become poisonous by getting educated “like a snake after it consumes milk”.

He further said that people also burnt Manusmriti and opposed Bunch of Thoughts for similar reasons and there is nothing new to it. The minister had stood by his comments and had refused to apologise.

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