IGNCA chief stokes controversy over role of Ambedkar

New Delhi: Recently appointed as chief of a premier government-funded art centre here, Ram Bahadur Rai today stoked a controversy by questioning Dr B R Ambedkar's role in framing of the Constitution and describing it as a "myth".

A former general secretary of the ABVP, RSS affiliated student organisation, Rai was quoted as saying in an interview to a weekly magazine that Ambedkar did not write the Constitution.

Rai, who was appointed as Chairman of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) in April, was quoted by 'Outlook' as having said that Ambedkar's role was limited and that whatever material B N Rau, a civil servant, gave to him, Ambedkar would correct the language.

"So, Ambedkar did not write the Constitution. In fact, he said, if the Constitution is ever to be set afire, then 'I will be first to do so,'" Rai said.

Asked if Ambedkar's role was then a myth, Rai replied, "Yes, myth hai, myth hai, myth hai (yes, it is a myth, it is a myth, it is a myth). It is part of identity politics." Rai immediately came under attack with BJP's Scheduled Caste Morcha chief Dushyant Kumar Gautam condemning the controversial comments, saying they amounted to insulting Ambedkar and are a hurdle in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Dalit outreach.

When contacted, Rai denied giving any such interview, claiming it was a "breach of journalistic ethics".

Attacking Rai, Gautam said, "Those who are saying so are doing it without any thinking and it seems they have some malice and enmity against the Scheduled Castes and the concept of social justice.

"This is the reason otherwise such statements would not have been made. If Ambedkar was from upper castes, then they would not made such comments," he added.

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