Jai Shri Ram Once Again Used as a War Cry. Hindutva Group Tonsures Nepal Man in Varanasi

Social Commentary

Jai Shri Ram Once Again Used as a War Cry. Hindutva Group Tonsures Nepal Man in Varanasi

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Nepal has traditionally been India’s good friend. But over the last few months, that trust seems to have been eroded. After redrawing the Nepal map to incorporate three disputed territories with India, Prime Minister KP Oli earlier this week said that the Hindu deity Lord Ram was not Indian but Nepali. That claim of course has not gone down well with Hindutva groups, and today an innocent man from Nepal had to face their ire.

In a shameful incident, a citizen from Nepal was tonsured and forced to shout “Jai Shri Ram” and slogans against Oli in Varanasi. The attack was reportedly carried out by fringe group Vishwa Hindu Sena, a recording of which has been uploaded on Facebook by its convenor Arun Pathak, The Hindu reported.

In the video, which is now being circulated on social media, an unidentified man can be seen sitting next to a river, bare-chested. He is forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and shout slogans against Nepal and PM Oli.

After posting the video on Facebook, Pathak also reportedly encouraged his followers to mete out the same treatment to other citizens from Nepal and write “Jai Shri Ram” on their tonsured heads. This, according to him, would serve as a warning and Oli would not dare to “insult” the Hindu god. The Varanasi people have registered a case against the Sena convenor, who is now on the run.

The episode has angered Nepal and its envoy Nilambar Acharya has reached out to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to draw his attention to the video.

This incident is going to further create tension between the two nations and has been widely condemned on social media. What’s even more embarrassing is that Varanasi is the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The rule of the mob is dangerous and this is just another example of the free rein Hindutva groups have enjoyed over the years. It’s unfortunate that a slogan that India once chanted to invoke faith – Jai Shri Ram – has now become a war cry.