Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Tuesday said Hindu deity Ram is the idol of every Indian and asked why West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was having a problem with the chanting of “Jai Shri Ram”.
On May 4, a video of Banerjee went viral showing her reprimanding a group of people who were chanting “Jai Shri Ram” as her convoy passed them. Soon after the incident, reports said that three people were taken into custody.
Shah was speaking at an election rally in Ghatal in Paschim Medinipur district of West Bengal. “For the past three days, Mamata Banerjee has expressed her displeasure with the chanting of ‘Jai Shri Ram’,” Shah said. “I want to ask Mamata Banerjee that if we do not chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in India, will we chant it in Pakistan?”
The BJP president asked the chief minister to clarify her stance on the matter. “Shri Ram is the deity of every Indian, he exists in the culture and ethos of India,” Shah said. “No one can stop us from worshiping him.”
Shah went on to urge those present at the rally to chant along with him. “Mamata didi, now do what you want. But no one can stop us from taking Ram’s name,” he said.
Shah also reiterated that the BJP government will bring the Citizenship Amendment Bill to give citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Christian refugees from the neighbouring countries. “We will ensure that ever infiltrator is identified and deported out of India,” he added.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dared Banerjee to arrest him for chanting “Jai shri Ram”. “Didi has thrown people in jail for chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’,” Modi had said at a rally in Tamluk in West Bengal. “I thought of saying Jai Shri Ram here today so that she can throw me inside jail too. That way, the people of Bengal might be protected from the wrath of TMC regime.”
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also criticised Banerjee in Kolkata for her stance on the religious slogan. “I asked Mamata Banerjee if she remembers his [BJP ideologue SP Mookerjee’s] sacrifice,” Sitharaman tweeted. “Why did she recite “Sarva mangala Mangalye...” on Tushtikaran Mafia Congress’ dais but threatens those in the street who say Jai Shri Ram.”