Following a huge criticism of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli's shocking remarks that India has created a 'fake' Ayodhya, the Nepal Government has now went into a damage control mode saying that "the remarks were not meant to debasing the significance of Ayodhya and the cultural value it bears."
On Monday, while speaking during the 207th birth anniversary celebration of Adikavi Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, the author of the Ramayana in Nepali language, Oli had even claimed that Lord Ram was originally from Nepal.
He said that India is manipulating cultural and historical facts by creating a 'fake' Ayodhya in India, which in fact is a village west of Birgunj, which lies 135 km south of capital Kathmandu.
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"We did not give Sita, who was born in Janakpur, to an Indian prince but Sita was married to Ram of Ayodhya, not of India," Oli said, adding a prince from a place that far away could not possibly come to Janakpur to marry Sita as there were no means of communication and easy transportation during those times.
"There is a huge controversy in 'their' Ayodhya while our Ayodhya, that lies in the Thori village, has no issues as such," the Nepalese PM said even to much amusement of the audience.
After receiving a huge backlash, not just in India and on social media but also from the Hindu community at home, the Nepali government realized the grave consequences of its PM's highly deplorable claims and issued a clarification today afternoon.
"Attention of the Government of Nepal has been drawn to the various interpretations of the remarks made yesterday by the Prime Minister. In this context, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to clarify that the remarks made by the PM are not linked to any political subject and have no intention at all to hurt the feeling and sentiment of anyone. As there have been several myths and references about Shri Ram and the places associated with him, the Prime Minister was simply highlighting the importance of further studies and research of the vast cultural geography the Ramayana represents to obtain facts about Shri Ram, Ramayana and the various places linked to this rich civilization," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
"The remarks were not meant to debasing the significance of Ayodhya and the cultural value it bears. It may be underlined that the tradition of celebrating Bibaha Panchami where a marriage procession coming from Ayodhya, India to Janakpur, Nepal takes place every year. The Prime Ministers of Nepal and India launched the Ramayana Circuit in May 2018, of which Janakpur-Ayodhya Passenger Bus Service is an important component. These facts signify the bond of time honored cultural affinity between our two countries and people," Kathmandu clarified further.
With Oli toeing the Chinese line, these unwarranted comments have further jolted the relations between India and the Himalayan nation.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said today that there is only one Ayodhya and that is in India.
Hitting back at Oli, VHP's working president Alok Kumar said that his statement was made "under the pressure of a foreign power."
"The present Ayodhya is the only birth place of Bhagwan Shri Ram. Shri Ram Baraat proceeds to Janakpuri from Ayodhya every year. It's impossible to misguide on the issue. His statement probably can't be relied upon by anybody except himself."
Whatever the case, Oli has been successful in creating fissures in deep friendship between both the nations which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said dates back to "Treta Yug.".