Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen stirred up a fresh controversy surrounding BJP's slogan 'Jai Shri Ram' by saying that the 'Jai Sri Ram' slogan, used as "a pretext to beat up people", cannot be associated with the Bengali culture unlike 'Maa Durga'.
While speaking at a programme in Kolkata's Jadavpur University, Sen said, "It is 'Maa Durga' who is omnipresent in the lives of Bengalis." "Jai Sri Ram slogan is not associated with the Bengali culture," said Sen as quoted by news agency PTI. Sen also clarified on the fact that these days even Ram Navami is "gaining popularity".
"I asked my four-year-old grandchild who is your favourite deity? She replied that it is Maa Durga. Maa Durga is so much omnipresent in our lives," the Nobel laureate said.
Amartya Sen's comment came in the backdrop of a spate of mob attacks where one section force others to chant 'Jai Sri Ram' and beat them up if they refuse.
Recently, a group of Muslims in Assam and a man in Jharkhand were assaulted by mobs and forced to say "Jai Shri Ram". The Jharkhand man succumbed to his injuries. In a similar incident, 26-year old Sahrukh Haldar was assaulted and forced to chant the slogan in Kolkata.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also been repeatedly targeted by people chanting "Jai Shri Ram" since the final days of the 2019 national election.