The debate over the caste of Lord Hanuman, that began after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's statement, seems far from over as Bahraich BJP MP Savitri Bai Phule on Tuesday claimed that he was not only a “Dalit (scheduled caste), but also a slave of 'manuwadi' people". While addressing a rally in Malakheda of Alwar district in poll-bound Rajasthan, of Alwar district, Adityanath had said: "Lord Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. Bajrang Bali worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west."
Phule alleged that Dalits and backwards were being called 'bandar' (monkey) and 'rakshas' (demon). "Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and a slave of 'manuwadi' people. He was a Dalit and a human. He did all for Lord Ram then why he was given a tail and his face was blackened. Why was he made a monkey?," Phule said.
"When he did all for Lord Ram with devotion, he (Lord Hanuman) should have been made a human and not a 'bandar' (monkey). At that time also he had to face humilation due to being a Dalit. Why can't we Dalits be considered humans?", she told news agency PTI.
After his statement, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar asked members of his community to take over all temples belonging to Lord Hanuman.
Soon after Aditynath’s statement, right-wing group the Rajasthan Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha sent a legal notice to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister asking him to apologise within three days.
On Sunday, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar asked members of his community to take over all temples belonging to Lord Hanuman.
"Dalits should take over all Hanuman temples in the country and appoint Dalits as priests there," Chandrashekhar had said.
Talking about the right-wing groups’ demand for construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Phule, who had earlier raised questions on BJP leaders dining at the houses of Dalits and had termed the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah, "a mahapurush" (great personality), said the BJP was raking up the matter as it has no other issues.
"The country does not need a temple. Will it end unemployment and other problems of Dalits and backwards? The temple will benefit Brahmins, who are only 3 per cent. The money offered in temples are used by them for their gains and make our community (Dalit) their slave," she said.
(With PTI inputs)