Nitish Kumar dismisses Dhirendra Shastri’s calls for a Hindu Rashtra

Kumar said the Indian Constitution is supreme and India’s identity could not be changed

PATNA | Updated: 17 May, 2023 10:32 am IST
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has said that MP preacher Dhirendra Shastri's calls for Hindu Rashtra holds no value.

PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dismissed controversial preacher Dhirendra Shastri’s demands for making India an officially Hindu nation, cautioning him against stirring up religious sentiments. Interacting with journalists in Patna, the Janata Dal (United) leader expressed surprise at the notion of recognizing a state religion and emphasized the sanctity of the Indian Constitution.

“It surprises us when people talk about changing the name of the country. Can anyone really do that? If someone is making such a demand, they are expressing their personal opinion, which holds no value. The country will function according to the Constitution,” he said in response to journalists’ questions regarding the call for a ‘Hindu Rashtra.’

Kumar asserted that every individual is entitled to practice their religion but should refrain from commenting on the practices of other religions. He also stressed the need to avoid unnecessary disputes and interference in personal matters.

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Kumar highlighted the collective consensus that shaped the country’s Constitution and cautioned against entertaining any alterations to its fundamental principles. He also questioned the motives behind such discussions, stating, “This propaganda is happening because people in Delhi have influence over the media nationwide. If the country has a name, can it be changed?”

“Those who believe in any religion and worship accordingly should be allowed to do so. In this country, as many as seven religions are practiced. Everyone has the right to worship in their own way and work in their own way, and we have no objection to that. But there should be no disputes among ourselves,” he emphasized.

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Reflecting on India’s struggle for independence, Kumar asserted that those advocating for altering the nation’s identity were not born during that transformative period. Drawing on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the founding fathers of the nation, he affirmed that Bihar’s development aligns with their principles.

Shastri, the head of Madhya Pradesh-based Bageshwar Dham, is holding a multi-day congregation in a remote village in the Patna district. Several BJP leaders, including Union ministers, have attended the gathering and sought the preacher’s blessings.

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Kumar’s deputy, Tejashwi Yadav, has refused to pay respects to Shastri, emphasizing that he is a public figure who attends events concerning public welfare rather than religious events.

Union Minister Giriraj Singh has questioned Kumar and Yadav’s decision not to attend the congregation, accusing them of discrimination against Hindus and favoring Muslims. “They only appear at events filled with people wearing mesh caps (commonly worn by Muslims),” he said a few days ago.

 

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