National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) chairperson Nand Kumar Sai has claimed that Lord Hanuman was a tribal, just days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that He was a Dalit.
During an event in Lucknow on Thursday, Sai said, "I want to make it clear... People think that there were monkeys, bears, and vultures in the army of Lord Ram. In Kurukh language spoken by people belonging to the Oraon tribe, 'tigga' (a gotra) means 'vanar' (monkey). In the Kanwar tribe, which I belong to, there's a gotra (clan) called 'Hanuman'."
"Similarly, 'Giddh' or vulture is a gotra in many other Scheduled Tribes. Therefore, I believe they belonged to the tribal community and accompanied Lord Ram in the big war," he said.
While addressing a rally in Rajasthan's Alwar district on Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister had said, "Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. Bajrang Bali worked to unite all Indian communities, from north to south and east to west."
Later, a right-wing group in Rajasthan sent a legal notice to Adityanath, asking him to apologize within three days for calling Lord Hanuman a Dalit.
The NCST chairperson had earlier said that politicians were given to make statements during rallies, and the chief minister should specify the context in which he called Lord Hanuman a Dalit.
(With inputs from agencies.)