Jabalpur, Nov 13: Mahamandaleshwar Swami Shyamdas Maharaj seems to have announced a Diwali offer on Sunday, Nov 12. The local religious leader in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh has announced a reward of Rs five lakh to all those who would spit on Ram Jethmalani's face. [Update: Now Narendra Modi dragged into Jethmalani-Lord Ram controversy]
Clarifying his stand over his controversial announcement, Maharaj was quoted as saying, "A threat presupposes violence and spitting is a harmless non-violent act. This, at best, could be described as an expression of anguish by a devout...Jethmalani is a lucky man that he could get away with such a lenient punishment for such an unpardonable act."
Speaking about Lord Ram's other critics, Maharaj also stated, "Ravan too had the temerity to describe Ram as a weakling and good for nothing son, deservedly abandoned by his father king Dashrath," and also added, "But the trend needed to be nipped in the bud. Jethmalani would not be allowed to sully his name."
Maharaj's statement on Ram Jethmalani comes following another controversial statement by the BJP leader and senior advocate.
Mr Jethmalani earlier had criticised Lord Ram by calling him a "bad husband".
Speaking at a function on Thursday, Nov 8 to launch a book on man-woman relationship, Mr Jethmalani said, "Ram was a bad husband. I don't like him at all. Just because some fisherman said something, he sent that poor woman (Sita) to exile."
He also took a jibe at Lakshman by saying he was "even worse."
"When Sita was abducted, Ram asked him to go and find her as she was abducted during his watch. Lakshman simply excused himself saying she was his sister-in-law and he never looked at her face, so he wouldn't be able to identify her," Mr Jethmalani said.
Earlier, he spoke against the misuse of religion and said, "Today we are at the crossroads of the very fate of this planet. Religion has totally changed. Religion has produced terror. Religion has produced those who issue fatwas of murder..."
(With PTI inputs)