Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav today accused the BJP of "changing" the caste of ninth-century ruler Mihir Bhoj and tampering with historical facts to secure the votes of a certain community.
This comes days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath unveiled a 15-foot statue of the ruler in Gautam Buddh Nagar's Dadri, stoking a controversy that saw sections of Gurjar and Rajput communities stake claim over the king's legacy.
"It is taught in history that King Mihir Bhoj was a Gurjar-Pratihar. But the BJP people have changed his caste," Mr Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.
ये इतिहास में पढ़ाया जाता रहा है कि सम्राट मिहिर भोज गुर्जर-प्रतिहार थे पर भाजपाइयों ने उनकी जाति ही बदल दी है। निंदनीय!— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) September 26, 2021
छलवश भाजपा स्थापित ऐतिहासिक तथ्यों से जान-बूझकर छेड़छाड़ व सामाजिक विघटन करके किसी एक पक्ष को अपनी तरफ़ करती रही है।
हम हर समाज के मान-सम्मान के साथ हैं! pic.twitter.com/Zw9ifKpDg5
"This is condemnable. The BJP is deliberately trying to tamper with historical facts and divide society to secure the votes of a particular side," he said.
The SP chief added that his party stood for respect and honour for all sections of the society.
Around 250 to 300 participants of a Gurjar panchayat in Dadri were briefly detained by the police on Sunday, Joint Commissioner of Police Love Kumar told PTI.
"They were briefly detained in view of the situation and taken in buses from the panchayat spot in Dadri to the Police Lines, where they were released," Mr Kumar said.
He said heavy security has been deployed in the area and the police were monitoring the situation closely, adding that the situation was currently under control.
Restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC had already been imposed in the district and permission for the gathering, which had hundreds of participants, was not given by the local police, according to officials.
Meanwhile, BSP chief Mayawati tweeted about the unveiling of the statue later on Sunday. In a series of tweets in Hindi, she said, "The statue of Gurjar king Mihir Bhoj, which was installed by the UP government recently, and unveiled by the Chief Minister on September 22 has the word 'Gurjar' missing from it."
This has deeply hurt the sentiments of the Gurjar community and they are feeling very hurt, she added.
"Tampering with the history of the Gurjar community is extremely condemnable and the government should apologise for this. The BSP demands that the word should be immediately added," the former chief minister said.
After unveiling the statue on September 22, Mr Adityanath had said, "No foreign ruler was able to intrude India during the rule of King Mihir Bhoj. They were so frightened of him that nobody dared to attack India even 150 years after his rule until Mehmud Ghaznavi invaded and plundered the country."
"A community that forgets its past and traditions is unable to protect its geography also, and something like this has happened with us as well," he had said then.
Soon after, a controversy erupted between sections of Gurjar and Rajput communities in Dadri over the king's legacy.
Later, a video surfaced purportedly showing a local community leader tampering with the foundation stone plaque of the statue and changing the prefix in the king's name.
Noting the rift between the two communities, Mr Adityanath advised them against confining great icons within the boundaries of caste, saying their sacrifices were for the whole of India to cherish.
"Maa Panna Dai had taken Maharana to a safe place by sacrificing the life of her son. Not just the Gurjar community, but the entire India should feel proud of her great sacrifice," he tweeted.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)