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Real Ayodhya in Nepal, Lord Ram not Indian: Oli

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Kathmandu, July 13: Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Monday stoke a controversy claiming that Lord Rama belongs to Nepal, not India.

"Real Ayodhya lies in Nepal, not in India. Lord Ram is Nepali, not Indian," news agency ANI cited Nepali media as quoting Oli.

KP Sharma Oli

The claim comes amid an ongoing diplomatic tussle between Kathmandu and New Delhi over the newly published Nepal map which claims Indian territory as its own.

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    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 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.

    He was speaking at an event on the birth anniversary of Nepalese poet Bhanubhakta at the Prime Minister's residence in Kathmandu

    "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 bride and bridegroom at such a distance was not possible at the time when there was no communication and transportation system.

    "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," Prime Minister Oli was quoted as saying by his press advisor Surya Thapa.

    "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," he said. As Dasharath was the ruler of Nepal, it is natural that his son Ram was also born in Nepal, Oli argued.

    Therefore, real Ayodhya lies in Nepal, he claimed. Many scientific inventions and knowledge originated in Nepal, but unfortunately such a rich tradition could not continue later, Oli said.

    Condemning Oli for his remarks, BJP national spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri said that the Left parties even in India played with people's faith, and the Communists in Nepal will be rejected by the masses in the same way they have been here.

    "Lord Ram is a matter of faith for us, and people will not allow anybody, be it prime minister of Nepal or anyone, to play with this," he said in New Delhi.

    Recently, Nepal redrew the country's political map through a constitutional amendment, incorporating three strategically important Indian areas.

    The Nepal Parliament also approved the new political map of the country featuring Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura areas which India maintains belong to it. India has already termed as "untenable" the artificial enlargement" of the territorial claims by Nepal.

    Last week, Nepal stopped the transmission of all Indian private news channels except Doordarshan, accusing them of airing reports hurting the country's national sentiment.

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