Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday (19 June) slammed the Congress party for criticising the Centre's decision to award the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2021 to Gita Press.
He stated that the descendants of "accidental Hindu" were unable to accept the honour bestowed upon the Gorakhpur-based publisher.
During his speech in Balrampur, the UP Chief Minister did not mention anyone by name but stated, "The descendants of accidental Hindu are not able to digest the honour given to Gita Press. Gita Press has been serving Sanatan Hindu Dharma for a century. Sanatan Hindu Dharma paves the way for the welfare of humanity. It is a matter of pride that the main center of its publication has received the Gandhi Peace Prize," reports news agency ANI.
He further added that the Congress party's "dirty attitude towards its heritage" was a matter of shamelessness.
The UP CM also highlighted that Gita Press had been publishing religious literature for the past 100 years, including the Gita, Vedas, Ramayana, and Ramcharitmanas, without any government assistance and at an affordable price.
He emphasised that it was the main centre for the publication of all types of religious literature.
Earlier on Sunday (18 June), the Ministry of Culture announced that the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2021 will be conferred on Gita Press, Gorakhpur.
The award recognises the organisation's "outstanding contribution towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods," the ministry said.
Gandhi Peace Prize 2021, recognises the important and unparalleled contribution of Gita Press, in contributing to collective upliftment of humanity, which personifies Gandhian living in true sense, the ministry added.
Since its establishment in 1923, Gita Press has become one of the world's largest publishers. It has published 41.7 crore books in 14 languages, including 16.21 crore copies of Shrimad Bhagvad Gita.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Culture, the jury, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, unanimously decided to select Gita Press, Gorakhpur for the Gandhi Peace Prize.
The Centre's decision, made by the jury headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was however criticised by the Congress.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh described the decision as a "travesty" and said it was "like awarding Savarkar and Godse".
In a tweet, Ramesh stated, "The Gandhi Peace Prize for 2021 has been conferred on the Gita Press at Gorakhpur which is celebrating its centenary this year. There is a very fine biography from 2015 of this organisation by Akshaya Mukul in which he unearths the stormy relations it had with the Mahatma and the running battles it carried on with him on his political, religious & social agenda. The decision is really a travesty and is like awarding Savarkar and Godse."
The Bharatiya Janata Party slammed the Congress leader's remarks, with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma accusing the grand old party of waging war against India's civilisational values and rich legacy.
"With the win in Karnataka, Congress has now openly unleashed a war against India's civilisational values and rich legacy, be it in the form of repeal of anti-conversion law or criticism against Geeta Press. people of India will resist this aggression and reassert our civilisation values with equal aggression," Sarma tweeted.
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