New Delhi: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said that the ‘Jai Sri Ram’ slogan which nowadays  used as ‘a pretext to beat up people’  is not associated with the Bengali culture. Speaking at a programme in the Jadavpur University, Sen asserted that it is ‘Maa Durga’ who is omnipresent in the lives of Bengalis.

“I haven’t heard Jai Shri Ram earlier. It is now used to beat up people. I think it is has no association with Bengali culture. Nowadays, Ram Navami is celebrated more in Kolkata which I haven’t heard earlier,” Sen said.

“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. What I feel is slogans like Jai Sri Ram are used as pretexts to beat up people,” the economist said.

He added,”The stature that Maa Durga enjoys here cannot be compared to Ram Navami…. These are recent imports to wage a war.”

Sen’s comment comes days after a man in West Bengal’s Coochbehar district was beaten up for not uttering ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The incident of Tufanganj surfaced after a video clip was circulated on social media. In the video, a man was being made to do sit-ups holding his ears and forced to say ‘Jai Shree Ram’. The man followed helplessly.

Besides, several cases of scuffle between Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party workers over chanting of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ have been reported in the state.

Earlier on Thursday,  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was greeted with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans by BJP supporters when she visited Mahesh area in Hooghly district to inaugurate the 623-year-old Rath Yatra festival

The slogan was heard from a section of the gathering as Banerjee was alighting from the dais amidst chants of ‘Jai Jagannath’ over the public address system.

The Trinamool Congress supremo had been trolled by the BJP for her angry reaction to ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans at Bhatpara in North 24 Parganas district in May. Similar incident had taken place Chandrakona in West Midnapore district.