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Mayawati warns leaders of Hinduism
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
April 14, 2003 19:03 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday issued a warning to Hindu religious heads to mend their ways and rid the religion of its ills.
Mayawati, who addressed a huge Bahujan Samaj Party rally in the state capital Lucknow on Dr B R Ambedkar's birthday, was referring to a recently released videotape showing her decrying Hinduism and using derogatory remarks against its rituals.
Taking on Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was responsible for making the tape public, Mayawati said: "I stand by my remarks; but what I intended was to criticise the ills in the Hindu religion and not the religion per se."
She accused Yadav of "distorting facts and twisting my remarks and statements by means of mischievious editing".
Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh's first and so far only dalit chief minister, warned, "If these ills are not removed by those at the helm of Hindu religious affairs, let them be prepared for a mass exodus to Buddhism."
Threatening to lead the way herself, she declared, "Our party chief Mr Kanshi Ram and millions of others in our party's ranks will happily join me in this mission, if Hindu religious leaders fail to rid this religion of its ills and some sick rituals." She got the crowd to affirm its support by raising its collective hand.
Denying Mayawati's charge of editing the videotape, senior Samajwadi Party politician Azam Khan, leader of the opposition in the assembly, told rediff.com, "The recording explicitly showed how Mayawati had drawn a comparison between a dog's urination and offering of the holy Ganga water in a Hindu temple... Her repeated references to dog as kutta devta reflect the utter disrespect she has for the Hindu religion."
Khan insisted that not a word of the recording was edited or manipulated. He described Mayawati's action of initiating criminal cases against some Samajwadi Party leaders as an attempt to hide her own guilt. "Let her arrest us," he said. "That will only prove our point that she is a tyrant and responsible for the anarchy in this state."
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