The health of poet Munawwar Rana has deteriorated after the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court refused to grant him an interim protection from arrest over his remarks comparing Taliban to Maharishi Valmiki. Subsequently, he was admitted to the PGI Hospital in the city.
Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Munawwar Rana had said during an interview, “Do we not have terrorists? One rickshawallah is beaten mercilessly in Kanpur, one politician says Munawwar Rana deserves to be encountered. You do not know the meaning of terrorist.”
He proceeded to add, “Valmiki became a God after he wrote the Ramayan, before that he was a dacoit. A person’s character can change. Similarly, the Taliban, for now, are terrorists but people and characters change.”
“When you speak about Valmiki you will have to talk about his past. In your religion, you make anyone the God. But he was a writer. Okay, so he wrote the Ramayan, but we are not in competition here,” the poet further stated.
Consequently, Munawwar Rana was booked for his comment by the Uttar Pradesh Police. The FIR was registered against Rana on the complaint filed by PL Bharti, a leader of the Valmiki community, who accused Rana of hurting religious feelings by comparing Valmiki with the Taliban. In his complaint, Bharti said that Rana made obnoxious comments against Dalits.
Rana had then filed a petition at the Allahabad High Court seeking a stay on his possible arrest, a request that has been denied by the Court.