Patna: Bihar’s Education Minister, Chandra Shekhar, has sparked controversy by likening elements in ancient scriptures like the Ramcharitmanas to “potassium cyanide.” This statement was made at a recent event, and a viral video clip captured the remarks.
Chandra Shekhar referenced the views of Hindi writer Nagarjuna and socialist thinker Ram Manohar Lohia, who have criticized the Ramcharitmanas for containing regressive thoughts. While acknowledging the positive aspects of the scriptures, the minister used an analogy, stating that just as a feast tainted with potassium cyanide becomes unfit for consumption, these scriptures have concerning elements.
The RJD leader highlighted that his comments on caste discrimination have garnered negative responses, including threats of violence, while similar concerns expressed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat did not face the same backlash. He emphasized the importance of conducting a caste census to promote an egalitarian society, particularly for those engaged in tasks like gutter cleaning.
However, Chandra Shekhar faced criticism from ally JD(U) and rival BJP, with both parties distancing themselves from his remarks. BJP’s Neeraj Kumar accused the Education Minister of insulting Sanatana Dharma and questioned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s silence on the matter. JD(U) spokesman Abhishek Jha stressed the need for equal respect for all faiths as mandated by the Constitution and disapproved of statements made for mere attention. RJD’s spokesman, Shakti Yadav, echoed the importance of respecting all religions and avoiding statements that could hurt religious sentiments.