VARANASI: The raging debate on whether Lord Hanuman was a Dalit Friday took an interesting turn with Shivpal Yadav's Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) demanding the Hindu deity's 'caste certificate' from the district administration.
The PSPL, launched in October after Shivpal Yadav fell out with his nephew and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, threatened to launch a sit-in if the district administration did not provide the certificate within a week.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently dubbed Lord Hanuman as a Dalit.
"We have applied for caste certificate of Lord Hanuman at the office of the Varanasi district magistrate. As the CM has termed him as a Dalit and dragged the deity in petty caste politics, we want his caste certificate," PSPL youth wing district chief Harish Mishra told PTI from Varanasi.
In the proforma submitted by the PSPL to the administration, a photograph of Lord Hanuman was pasted with Maharaj Keshari named as his father and Anjana Devi, his mother.
The famous Sankat Mochan temple was declared as his residence and Dalit was mentioned in the caste column. His age was mentioned as 'amar' (immortal) by the PSPL worker and the year of birth was "anant" (infinite).
Mishra claimed that they have formally submitted the form in due proforma for obtaining the caste certificate.
Adityanath's controversial statement at a poll rally in Rajasthan had triggered a debate with the opposition accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in politics of caste with one of its own Dalit MP's quitting the organisation.
Bahraich BJP MP Savitri Bai Phule claimed that Lord Hanuman was "a Dalit and a slave of 'manuwadi' people" and alleged that Dalits and backwards were being called 'bandar' (monkey) and 'rakshas' (demon).
The Lok Sabha member quit the BJP on Thursday, charging it with playing politics to divide the society.
"Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and a slave of 'manuwadi' people. He was a Dalit and a human. He did all for Lord Ram, but then why was he given a tail and his face blackened? Why was he made a monkey?," Phule had posed.
"When he did all for Lord Ram with devotion, he (Lord Hanuman) should have been made a human and not a 'bandar' (monkey). At that time also he had to face humilation due to being a Dalit. Why can't we Dalits be considered humans?", she had told PTI.
During a poll rally in Malakheda of Alwar district of Rajasthan, Adityanath had said, "Lord Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. Bajrang Bali worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west."
After this statement, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad had asked members of his community to take over all temples belonging to Lord Hanuman. "Dalits should take over all Hanuman temples in the country and appoint Dalits as priests there," Chandrashekhar had said.