The department has been discussing with different ministries about the possibilities to start archaeological studies
KATHMANDU, July 16: The Department of Archaeology (DoA) is preparing to excavate and begin archaeological studies in Thori, which the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has claimed as the birthplace of Hindu deity Ram.
Following the statement by PM Oli that Ram was born in Thori of Parsa district, and India has created an artificial Ayodhya, the department in the last few days has been discussing a possible archeological study in the area with different ministries.
Amid rising political tension between Nepal and India, PM Oli recently accused India of creating an artificial Ayodhya “by manipulating cultural facts”. "We have been suppressed culturally. Facts have been twisted. Even today, we believe that Sita was married to an Indian prince, Ram. We gave her not to an Indian, but to the one from Ayodhya. Ayodhya is a village that lies to the west of Birgunj," said PM Oli in a program organized at his residence a day ago.
"The department has been holding several meetings with different ministries to discuss the possibility of starting archaeological studies in Thori of Birgunj," Ram Bahadur Kunwar, spokesperson for the DOA, told Republica.
According to Damodar Gautam, director general at the DoA, the department is serious about conducting archaeological studies in Thori after the PM's statement. "The department will discuss with experts and will come to a conclusion soon," said Gautam.
However, the DoA doesn’t have any bases to start any excavation at Thori – the birthplace of lord Ram, as claimed by PM Oli. "It is our responsibility to carry out a study after such statements by the prime minister. Having said that, I cannot say that we have enough bases to prove that Ayodhya is in Nepal," according to Gautam.
In the meantime, the statement of PM Oli was heavily criticized in both Nepal and India. After the PM's statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) issued a statement to clarify his remarks.
The foreign ministry said that the remarks made by Prime Minister Oli “are not linked to any political subject and have no intention at all to hurt the feelings and sentiments of anyone.”
"The government's attention was drawn to the various interpretations of the remarks by Prime Minister Oli during the 207th birth anniversary celebration of Adikavi Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, the author of the Ramayana in the Nepali language. The remarks made by the PM are not linked to any political subject and have no intention at all to hurt the feelings and sentiments of anyone," reads the press statement.
Several Indian political leaders also objected to the remarks made by PM Oli.