Kathmandu, Jul 14, 2020: In what can be termed bizarre yet controversial news, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli found himself in hot waters on Monday after he claimed that the real Ayodhya lied in his country (Nepal) and not in India.
"Lord Ram is Nepali, not Indian," news agency ANI quoted Nepali media as saying.
Ram’s birthplace of Ayodhya is not located in Uttar Pradesh but near the Balmiki Ashram in Thori in southern Nepal, Oli said.
Speaking at an event on the birth anniversary of Nepalese poet Bhanubhakta at the Prime Minister’s residence in Kathmandu, Oli said that Nepal "has become a victim of cultural encroachment and its history has been manipulated".
Bhanubhakta was born in 1814 in Tanhu of western Nepal and is credited for translating Valmiki’s Ramayan into the Nepali language. He died in 1868.
"Although the real Ayodhya lies at Thori in the west of Birgunj, India has claimed the Indian site as the birthplace of Lord Ram," Oli said.
"We also believe that deity Sita got married to Prince Ram of India. Actually, Ayodhya is a village lying west of Birgunj," he said, adding 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 went on to say that Thori, located near Birgunj, was the "real" Ayodhya were Lord Ram was born.
"The place called Thori, near Birgunj is the real Ayodhya, where Lord Ram was born. In India there is great dispute on Ayodhya. But, there is no dispute in our Ayodhya," Oli was quoted as saying by his press advisor Surya Thapa.
Instead of outraging at his comments, Twitterati in India took the meme route and imagined what Oli’s future claims would be.