A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA asked a Congress leader to chant “Jai Shri Ram” outside the Jharkhand Assembly, The Indian Express reported on Friday. In a video that has been shared multiple times on social media, CP Singh can be seen asking Irfan Ansari to chant the religious slogan, claiming that his ancestors were also “Jai Shri Ram people”.
The Congress leader was speaking to the media about how “Jai Shri Ram” chants had been raised in the Assembly, and accused the BJP government of hiding behind it instead of addressing the job crisis in the state. Ansari added that the deity does not only belong to the saffron party, but everyone.
Singh, who was also speaking to reporters close to Ansari, was asked to comment on the matter. He said: “Main to keh raha hoon ki Irfan Bhai ek baar jor se lagayein Jai Shri Ram (I am saying Irfan Bhai that you loudly chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’).” Following this, Ansari asked Singh if he was trying to threaten him, to which the BJP leader said that there was no need to fear, adding that his ancestors were also “Jai Shri Ram people”.
“You are using Ram’s name to intimidate...you people are denigrating Ram’s name,” Ansari said. “The need of the hour is jobs, electricity, water, drainage.” However, the BJP leader kept reiterating that Ansari’s ancestors were “Jai Shri Ram people” and not “Taimur, Babur, Ghazni”.
Singh is the urban development, housing and transport minister of Jharkhand government while Ansari is a lawmaker from Jamtara city in the state, according to NDTV.
Congress Spokesperson Rajesh Thakur said Singh was “politicising Lord Ram” adding that devotees chant the deity’s name out of devotion and trust and not for pretence, The Indian Express reported.
This is the latest in a series of instances where people have been asked to chant “Jai Shri Ram” with some episodes taking a violent turn. On Tuesday, a group of filmmakers, activists and academics wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the religious slogan becoming a “provocative war cry”. The 49 signatories of the letter included filmmakers Aparna Sen, Anurag Kashyap, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mani Ratnam, Shyam Benegal, historian Ramachandra Guha, author Amit Chaudhuri, scholar Ashis Nandy and actor Konkona Sen Sharma.