Ramcharitmanas row: At least eight people have been booked in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow for tearing pages of Ramcharitmanas and then burning it in the Vrindavan Yojna area of the city on Sunday. Notably, Ramcharitmanas, an epic poem in the Awadhi language, is based on the Ramayana and has been composed by 16th-century Bhakti movement poet Tulsidas.
According to reports, an FIR has been lodged at the PGI police station in Lucknow. Meanwhile, Station House Officer (SHO) Rajesh Rana said that the FIR was lodged on the basis of a complaint received from a BJP member named Satnam Singh Lavi.
"Unsavoury comments against Ramcharitmanas and burning of its pages in public may create a rift in society and lead to communal tension. The accused spoke against the holy book on social media and thus hurt the sentiments of Hindus," he added, as per news agency IANS.
Accused booked under relevant sections of IPC
He further said that the accused named by Satnam Singh in his FIR are Yashpal Singh Lodhi, Devendra Yadav, Mahendra Pratap Yadav, Naresh Singh, SS Yadav, Sujit, Santosh Verma and Salim.
According to the SHO, they all have been booked under sections 153-A (promoting enmity), 295 A (outrage religious feelings), 505 (to incite outrage) and 298 (hurt religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code and section 66 of the IT Act.
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What led to the controversy?
The police said that the accused named in the FIR had come out in support of Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Swami Prasad Maurya under the banner of Akhil Bhartiya OBC Mahasabha on Sunday, January 29.
The protest was held in the Vrindavan Yojana sector apparently in solidarity with Maurya, who had stated that the Hindu epic contained passages discriminatory of women and Shudras.
Maurya, a prominent OBC leader in Uttar Pradesh, had kicked up a controversy by alleging that certain verses of the Ramcharitmanas "insult" a large section of society on the basis of caste and demanded that these be "banned."
(With inputs from IANS)