Buddhadeb blames media for Ram controversy


Kolkata : After drawing flak from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for questioning the existence of Lord Ram, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya Saturday blamed the media for “putting his remarks out of context”.

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In a statement here, Bhattacharya said he had quoted a line from Rabindranath Tagore’s “Bhasha O Chhanda” (Language and Verse), which said, “Kobi tabo monobhumi ramer janmasthan, Ayodhar cheye satya jeno” (The poets’ mind is the birthplace of Ram, which is more real than Ayodhya).

“My remarks were taken out of context by a section of the media,” the chief minister said.

At a meeting held in Kolkata Thursday to mark the 15th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, Bhattacharya said, ” Ram was born in the imagination of poets and Ram Setu is a natural formation under the sea.”

In his speech, he blamed the BJP, saying it was using Ram Setu as a tool to bring divisions in the society.

His statements drew sharp reaction from the state BJP, which accused him of trying to appease the Muslim vote bank after the Nandigram fiasco by making such “sacrilegious statements”.

“Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s remarks are nothing but an attempt to appease the Muslim vote bank after the Nandigram fiasco,” state BJP general secretary Rahul Sinha told IANS.

“The Communists have always hated god men. They had even spread canards against Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda. Probably, the chief minister will realise his mistake and later express regret like he did over his Nandigram remarks in New Delhi,” he said.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi had questioned the existence of Lord Ram, which led to massive protests across the country with mobs resorting to arson and even an attack on his house.

Ram Setu or Adam’s bridge is a chain of limestone shoals forming a link between Sri Lanka and India. The setu is a sacred place for the Hindus and finds mention in the ancient text of Ramayana.

The dredging of Ram Setu is a part of the multi-million dollar Sethusamudram project, which requires breaking a portion of the setu to make a route navigable for ships around the Indian peninsula.