An event which Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday said was an example of questionable activities by students on the campus and was trying to slammed opposition parties, a photo has surfaced showing member of her own party BJP MP Udit Raj had attended that Mahishasura festival at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
The prominent dalit leader, while refuting the charges, said that in 2013 he had attended the event in full personal capacity and that since joining the saffron party he never took part in such program.
“What I did 5 yrs back is different. I did participate in that. I was an activist that time, I changed. Only fools and dead men don’t change their views,” he said.
“I have been to multiple events in 15 years all over the world, doesn’t mean my views were identical to all the organisers,” he added.
North West Delhi MP Udit Raj did not deny his presence at the event which took place in October 2013. “I attended the Mahishasura festival because I believe that caste discrimination is bad. I consider Mahishasur as a martyr. Dr BR Ambedkar had also considered him as a martyr,” I was not a part of the BJP at that time. I follow the ideology of Dr BR Ambedkar, who considered Mahishasur as a Messiah of Dalits, how can I go against him,” he said to media.
“I was an activist that time, I changed. Only fools and dead men don’t change their views,” he also said.
The Mahishasura festival has been taking place in the JNU campus in the month of October since 2011. It started after Dalit writer Prem Kumar Mani wrote an article which had references considered objectionable by some sections of the society.
The festival is held to pay a tribute to the ‘demon’ king who was slained by Goddess Durga. Backward communities worship Mahishasura and believe that gods conspired to kill the king as he belonged to a backward caste and posed a threat to Brahminical dominance.