India: Ruling party leader asks Hindus to buy sword ahead of verdict
Party distances itself from statement on sword and Ayodhya verdict
A ruling party leader in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has asked members of his Hindu community to “buy swords made of iron instead of gold jewelry and silver vessels,” on Dhanteras.
Dhanteras is a Hindu festival celebrated before the festival of Diwali and according to tradition, Hindus buy utensils and other items made of metal. The festival will be celebrated on October 25.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) city president from Deoband, Gajraj Rana has asked his community members to be ready for the verdict on the Ayodhya issue.
According to Indian website news18.com, Gajraj Rana said, “The Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya issue is expected soon and we are confident that it will be in favor of the Ram temple.”
“This could vitiate the atmosphere, so it is advisable to stock iron swords instead of gold jewelry and silver vessels. These swords will be useful for our own protection when such a time comes," he further told media on Saturday night.
However, he clarified that he did not "utter a word" against any community or religion.
"Even in our rituals, we worship weapons and our Gods and Goddesses have used weapons depending on circumstances. My statement was in reference to the current changing environment and a suggestion to the members of my community. Nothing more should be read into it," said news18.com quoting the leader.
Meanwhile, the party has distanced itself from his statement.
"The BJP does not endorse this kind of language if it has been used by him. Whatever he has said is in his personal capacity. There is a very clear guideline for the party leaders. Any action or statement must be done or said within the ambit of law and no one is above the law,” said Chadramohan, party spokesman in a statement.
India’s Supreme Court is expected to deliver its verdict on the Ram Temple-Babri Mosque dispute next month.
The dispute centers around a site at Ayodhya, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where the 16th-century Babri Mosque was demolished in 1992 by Hindus, who see it as the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram.