Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, the prime minister of Nepal, said the “real” Ayodhya, which millions of followers of Hinduism believe as the birthplace of Lord Ram, is actually a village near Nepal’s Birgunj town and Ram was a Nepali.
Oli, on Monday, while addressing a cultural event at his residence marking the 207th birth anniversary of Adikavi Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, a poet who translated Valmiki’s Ramayana from Sanskrit to Nepali, targeted India and accused it of appropriating Nepalese cultural heritage.
Oli said, “We “have been oppressed a bit culturally. Facts have been encroached. We still believe that we gave Sita to Indian Prince Ram. But we gave to the prince from Ayodhya not India. Ayodhya is a village in Thori – a little west to Birgunj, not the Ayodhya created now.”
Thori is a municipality in Nepal’s Parsa district, which is around 50km from Birgunj. Birgunj borders Raxaul in Bihar.
To augment his remark, he said how can a prince from so far (Ayodhya in present-day Uttar Pradesh) come to Janakpur (in Nepal) for marriage if the Ayodhya claimed by India were real.
Reacting to this, several top Nepalese political leaders from different parties assailed Oli. Baburam Bhattarai, former Nepalese PM tweeted: “PM Oli’s statements have crossed the limit. Extremism only creates trouble.”
Among other prominent Nepalese people who slammed Oli for his Ayodhya and Ram remark are: Kamal Thapa, former foreign minister and president of the pro-Hindu Rastriya Prajatantra Party; Bam Dev Gautam, senior leader of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal; Bishnu Rijal, deputy chief of the publicity committee of the ruling party; Kanak Dixit, senior Nepalese journalist; etc.
Oli’s remark also drew flak from sadhus in Ayodhya. Indian media reported that some accused Oli to be a “pawn in the hands of China” while others called for his removal from office.
Later, on Tuesday, the Nepalese government issued a clarification on Oli’s remark. The country’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying Oli didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings and intend to “debase Ayodhya’s significance and cultural value it bears”.
Video of KP Sharma Oli’s Ayodhya and Ram remark: