The Mumbai police on late Friday (5 January) night filed a first information report (FIR) against Jitendra Awhad, a senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and MLA, over his alleged objecctionable comments about Lord Ram.
The First Information Report (FIR) was registered following a complaint made by Gautam Ravriya, a Bajrang Dal coordinator, at the MIDC police station.
“Awhad, who is from NCP’s Sharad Pawar faction, has made objectionable remark on Lord Ram and hurt my and people’s religious sentiments,” Ravriya stated in the FIR, adding that he saw Awhad’s speech live on a TV news channel.
Awhad has been booked under Section 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code on charges of hurting the religious feelings of a community.
On 3 January, Awhad spoke to party members at the NCP's study camp in Shirdi, where he reportedly said that Lord Ram "was a king of the Bahujans and a non-vegetarian".
"We do not read history and forget everything in politics. Ram is ours… of us Bahujans, who used to hunt to eat. Ram was never a vegetarian. He was a non-vegetarian. How can a man who lived in the jungle for 14 years remain vegetarian?” Awhad had said.
Awhad's comments sparked controversy within the state, leading him to express regret for his remarks on 4 January. However, he did not retract his statement, noting that his reference was derived from the Valmiki Ramayan.
The Pune police also recently filed an FIR against Awhad for the same speech.
The FIR, lodged by a BJP leader, alleges that the NCP MLA had hurt the Hindu sentiments during a period when preparations are underway for the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on 22 January.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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