Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who created furore with his remarks on the Delhi gangrape, today blamed "western culture" for "moral degradation" of the country's youth, and asked the Uttar Pradesh government to declare Valentine's Day as "Matri Pitri Pujan Diwas".
"The young UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav should take a cue from the government of Chhattishgarh which has, since last year, started celebrating February 14 as 'Matri Pitri Pujan Diwas' so as to inspire the youth to revere and serve their parents. It is an example, which if followed, will go a long way in protecting young men and women of the state from the evil influence of western culture," Asaram Bapu said at his discourse in the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation.
"Foreign TV channels, which promote promiscuity, have robbed them of their strength of character. As if this much of moral degradation of the country's youth was not enough, pernicious symbols of western culture like Valentine's Day are being promoted," he said.
He said that it is the moral duty of the society to guard against evil outside influences and it is the solemn duty of saints and men of God to establish noble traditions which lead to the moral upliftment of the common people.
Asaram, who has remained embroiled in numerous controversies over the past one decade, had recently drawn flak from various quarters for saying that the 23-year-old paramedic student, who recently succumbed to her injuries days after being gangraped inside a bus, could have saved herself by pleading for mercy before the assailants.
On Wednesday, he had claimed during his discourse at the Kumbh ground that he had been "quoted out of context" and announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh to anybody who could prove that he had blamed the rape victim for the incident.