HomeIndiaVideos of Gujarat Minister Arvind Raiyani flogging himself with chains surface on...

Videos of Gujarat Minister Arvind Raiyani flogging himself with chains surface on social media

Purported videos of Gujarat Minister of State for Transport, Civil Aviation and Tourism Arvind Raiyani swaying and flogging himself with metal chains at a religious event surfaced on social media on Friday. While, the Congress accused him of spreading superstitions, the minister and the BJP defended his act saying there was distinction between faith and superstition.

Raiyani, the BJP MLA from Rajkot (east), confirmed that he had participated in havan and matajino mandavo, a religious function, at the shrine of Raiyani community deity at his native village of Gunda, around 15 km away from Rajkot city on Thursday evening.

Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi slammed the BJP leader for “spreading superstition”.

“Despite being a minister, Raiyani was spreading superstition by performing such unscientific acts. He was spreading superstition just like an exorcist. It is unfortunate that such people are serving as a minister in the Gujarat government,” Doshi said.

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Speaking to reporters, Raiyani said the religious gathering was organised to pay respect to his family deity at his native village in Rajkot district on Thursday.

The minister also said that he has been a bhuva (religious leader of a community) of Raiyani family’s juna madh (old shrine) since he was a 16, and that he was merely following the tradition of the community.

“Many people often talk about bhuvas doing certain acts (seen as superstitions). But as a matter of fact, there is nothing about dora-dhaga or dana (talisman) in it. Every Hindu community has a community patron deity and madhs (shrines) dedicated to their deities. In Saurashtra, various communities organise mandvas in big numbers and I am invited to such events as a politician as well as a bhuva. If people have doubts in their minds about appropriateness of such events, I want to state that this is an age-old tradition and I am not the one to start it.

Our madh is 377 years old and numerous bhuvas have served there before me. Now, the community has chosen me,” Raiyani told reporters in Rajkot on Friday.

Goddess Khodiyar is the patron deity of Raiyani family.

The minister said that his acts were not aimed at “cheating or misleading” any community.

“In the 2019 Lok Sabha election also, Congress had created an issue out of this. I want to tell them that I have no objection if they don’t believe in religion. But we do believe in Hindu religion and community deity. But while doing that, we don’t do any acts to cheat or mislead the society,” Raiyani added.
Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yagnesh Dave also trashed Congress allegations and said the Opposition party needs to understand the difference between faith and superstition.

“This is a matter of someone’s personal religious belief. There is a thin line that separates faith and superstition. Everyone has different ways to worship their deities. Traditional rituals should not be termed as superstition. The Congress should refrain from hurting religious sentiments,” Dave said.

-With PTI

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