Speaking at a cultural programme at his residence, the Nepal Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli said that real Ayodhaya lies in Nepal where lord Ram was born. The statement has not just baffled Indians but has also kicked up a potential controversy.
He said that Ayodhya, the ancient city believed by millions of Hindus to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, is actually a small village near Kathmandu. The Prime Minister also claimed that Lord Ram was actually Nepali.
According to the reports, Oli said that Ram's birthplace of Ayodhya is not located in Uttar Pradesh but near the Balmiki Ashram in Thori in southern Nepal. He also said "Although the real Ayodhya lies at Thori in the west of Birgunj, India has claimed the Indian site as the birthplace of Lord Ram."
These were PM Oli's exact words.
Nepal has become a victim of cultural encroachment and its history has been manipulated. We still believe we gave Sita to Prince Ram but we gave the prince too, from Ayodhya, not India.
He further added that the marriage between the bride and the bridegroom at such a distance was not possible at the time when there was no communication and transportation system. He was quoted by Nepali news website Setopati.com, which describes itself as "Nepal's digital newspaper as saying this:
We have been oppressed a bit, culturally. Facts have been encroached.
He also argued that "Valmiki Ashram is also in Nepal and the holy place where King Dasharath had executed the rites to get the son is in Ridi, which is in Nepal." As Dasharath was the ruler of Nepal, it is natural that his son Ram was also born in Nepal.
Prime Minister Oli's remarks came amid a row between the two countries over a revised political map that sees Nepal claim three Indian territories, the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand and the Limpiyadhura and Kalapani areas.
Under growing pressure to resign amidst a rift in the ruling Nepal Communist Party over his style of functioning, Prime Minister Oli also alleged that some of the ruling party leaders are aligning with the southern neighbour to remove him from power.
However, his allegations have been criticised by senior NCP leaders, including former prime minister 'Prachanda', who demanded Prime Minister Oli's resignation, saying his recent anti-India remarks were "neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate."
The India-Nepal bilateral ties came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.