Last week, Nepal Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli’s remark about the birthplace of a Hindu lord, Ram, sparked a controversy. On Friday, members of a Hindutva outfit tonsured a Nepali man and forced him to chant “Jai Shree Ram”, a phrase that has evolved as a battle-cry of Indian-right, and forced him to raise slogans against Nepal PM, reported The Hindu.
The Varanasi Police registered a case against the members, and said that a first information report has been registered at Bhelupur Police Station, but did not give more details.
Arun Pathak, the convenor of the Vishwa Hindu Sena, which carried out the attack, shot a video of the incident and uploaded it on his Facebook account.
In the video, an unidentified man is seated near a river, with no clothes on his upper body, reported Scroll. A group of people forces him to shout slogans against Nepal and Mr. Oli, and praise India for providing Nepalis with employment opportunities. The man, who speaks Nepali, is also coerced into chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.
Mr. Pathak also justified his group’s actions on Facebook, The Hindu reported. He urged his supporters to write “Jai Shri Ram” on the tonsured heads of Nepalis so that Mr. Oli would not dare to “insult” Hindu deity Ram.
Mr. Oli had on 13 July claimed that Lord Ram was born in Nepal and that Ayodhya was a small village in his country, not a city in Uttar Pradesh in India. He also accused India of “cultural oppression and encroachment”.
The following day, Nepal’s foreign ministry said Mr. Oli’s remarks had no political implications and was not intended to debase Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh or hurt anybody’s sentiments.
Mr. Oli’s statement came amid tensions between India and Nepal over the Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura areas. Nepal maintains that India has claimed the disputed region by building a link road despite repeated objections. India, on the other hand, has said that the road falls within its territory.
In June, the Nepal Parliament approved a bill demarcating the Lipulekh mountain pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territory. Earlier this month, Oli claimed that the Indian government and his political rivals were plotting to oust him from power.