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Padma Shree awardee Daya Prakash Sinha booked for controversial statement against emperor Ashoka


PATNA: Padma Shree awardee Daya Prakash Sinha has landed in trouble following an FIR (First Information Report) lodged against him for making a controversial statement against Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great.

Sinha, who was awarded Padma Shree for his contribution in the field of art and culture, has been booked under sections 195 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religious beliefs), 505 (2) (statements conducting public mischief) and section 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code.

The station house officer (SHO) of Kotwali police station said the FIR has been lodged on the statement of Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal, the state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party and MP from Bettiah. He said the accused may have to serve imprisonment upto five years if held guilty by the court of law for the offence.

Sinha, a retired IAS officer and BJP's cultural cell national convenor, earned the wrath of the ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) for drawing a parallel between Mauryan emperor Ashoka and Mughal ruler Aurangzed. The BJP, however, denied that Sinha was a functionary of the party.

A host of leaders of the JD-U, including its national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh and parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha demanded from the President, Prime Minister and the union government to take back Sinha's Padma Shree for his controversial remarks against Ashoka the Great.

“Criticism of one of the greatest kings in ancient India can not be accepted. The act of the man in question is unpardonable,” the JD-U national chief said, adding that the party which Sinha was associated with, should also initiate action against him.

The main opposition—Rashtriya Janata Dal—also demanded action against the Padma awardee for making unsavoury remarks against Ashoka the Great. Earlier, Samrat Choudhary, who is a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet from BJP quota, said the insult against the ancient Mauryan king can not be accepted. Sinha is also a recipient of the Sahitya Academy Award.