In yet another incident of religious intolerance, a Bharatiya Janata Praty (BJP) minister in Jharkhand was caught on camera, heckling a Muslim lawmaker from the Congress, asking him to chant "Jai Shri Ram" outside the state Assembly on Friday.
The video, which has gone viral on various social media platforms, shows minister CP Singh holding Congress leader Irfan Ansari and urging him to say 'Jai Shri Ram' loudly. "Irfan bhai, I urge you to say 'Jai Shri Ram' loudly," Singh can be heard saying in the video. The minister also goes on to claim further that "his ancestors were Ram-wale and not Babur-wale".
To this, Congress lawmaker Ansari said, "You are using Ram's name to intimidate... you people are denigrating Ram's name. The need of the hour is jobs, electricity, water, drainage".
"I am not saying it to scare you. Don't forget that your ancestors chanted 'Jai Shri Ram'... Taimur, Babur, Ghazni were not your ancestors. Your ancestors were Shri Ram followers," Singh replied to Ansari.
The incident brought back memories of the Jharkhand mob-lynching incident last month, where a 24-year-old Muslim youth named Tabrez Ansari was allegedly beaten to death by a mob and forced to chant "Jai Shri Ram" and "Jai Hanuman" in Seraikela-Kharswan district.
Incidents of members of the minority community being cornered and forced to say "Jai Shri Ram" or 'hail Lord Ram' have been reported recently from various parts of the country.
In the wake of these raging hate crimes across India, a group of 49 eminent personalities, including filmmakers, authors and actors also dashed a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, expressing concern over such incidents.
The signatories also said that they regretted that 'Jai Shri Ram' has been reduced to a "provocative war cry that leads to law and order problems, and lynching take place in its name".
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, has said no one should communalise criminal incidents, adding that backward classes and minorities are safe in the country.