The Bihar assembly on Monday witnessed uproarious scenes as BJP MLAs demanded an apology from state education minister Chandra Sekhar for his recent "derogatory" remarks over Ramcharitmanas.
The BJP sought to discuss the matter in the Assembly, but Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary turned down its request, following which saffron party MLAs walked out of the House.
As Chandra Sekhar stood up from his seat to conclude the debate on his department's budget for the year 2023-24, Mr Sinha, said, "The minister must first tender an apology for his recent remark against the Hindu holy book. We will not tolerate such comments disparaging our holy books." The education minister had in January drawn flak for claiming that the epic poem 'Ramcharitmanas' promoted "social discrimination" in society, during a programme at Nalanda University.
Echoing Mr Sinha, BJP MLA Haribhushan Thakur, popularly known as 'Bachol', claimed that Chadra Shekhar's statement has "hurt the sentiments of crores of Hindus".
"It's a very serious matter...It was intentionally done with the sole purpose of spreading misinformation to hurt the sentiments of the majority community by selectively misinterpreting a verse from the epic," Mr Thakur said.
The minister, however, asserted that he would continue to stand by his statement.
"I have not done anything wrong, and I see no reason why I should apologise. Ambedkar had burnt the Manusmriti, because it talks about depriving Dalits of their rights. Similarly, 'Ramcharitmanas' also has several such verses, he claimed.
The RJD leader also claimed that "RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat has always supported his stance".
Meanwhile, the assembly, during the day, passed the education department budget for the year 2023-24 by voice vote. The Nitish Kumar government has allocated Rs 40,450 crore for the department in the next fiscal.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)