Seeking to downplay the row over Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s remarks concerning the birthplace of Lord Rama and “real Ayodhya”, the Nepal Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said that the Prime Minister “was simply highlighting the importance of further studies” and the remarks were not meant to debasing the significance of Ayodhya and the cultural value it bears.”
“The remarks made by the Prime Minister are not linked to any political subject and have no intention at all to hurt the feeling and sentiment of anyone,” the ministry said.
“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 civilisation,” it added.
“The remarks were not meant to debasing the significance of Ayodhya and the cultural value it bears,” the statement said.
The ministry further said, “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-honoured cultural affinity between our two countries and peoples.”
Earlier on Monday, Oli said, “Although real Ayodhya lies at Thori, city in the west of Birgunj, India has claimed that Lord Rama was born there. Due to these continuous claims even we have believed that deity Sita got married to Prince Rama of India. However, in reality, Ayodhya is a village lying west of Birgunj.”
He was speaking at an event organised at the Prime Minister’s residence in Kathmandu.
Oli also blamed India for cultural encroachment by “creating a fake Ayodhya.”
“Balmiki Ashram is in Nepal and the holy place where King Dashrath had executed the rites to get the son is in Ridi. Dashrath’s son Ram was not an Indian and Ayodhya is also in Nepal,” he claimed.
In an attempt to save self from criticism, Oli questioned how Lord Rama could come to Janakpur to marry Sita when there was “no means” of communication. He further said that it to be impossible for Lord Rama to come to Janakpur from present Ayodhya that lies in India.
“Janakpur lies here and Ayodhya there and there is talk of marriage. There was neither telephone nor mobile then how could he know about Janakpur,” the Prime Minister said.