A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in Uttar Pradesh's Deoband has asked the Hindu community to "buy swords made of iron instead of utensils on Dhanteras".
Dhanteras is celebrated annually before the festival of Diwali. As per tradition, people buy utensils or other items made of metal. This year, Dhanteras will be observed on October 25 (Friday).
"The Supreme Court verdict on the the Ayodhya issue is expected soon and we are confident that it will be in favour of the Ram temple. However, this could vitiate the atmosphere, so it is advisable to stock iron swords instead of gold jewellery and silver vessels. These swords will be useful for our own protection when such a time comes," Gajraj Rana, the BJP's city president for Deoband, told the media on Saturday night.
Rana however, clarified that he did not "utter a word" against any community or religion.
"Even in our rituals, we worship weapons and our Gods and Goddesses have used weapons depending on circumstances. My statement was in reference to the current changing environment and a suggestion to the members of my community. Nothing more should be read into it," he added.
Meanwhile, the BJP has distanced itself from Rana's statement.
The party's spokesman for Uttar Pradesh, Chandramohan said: "The BJP does not endorse this kind of language if it has been used by him. Whatever he has said is in his personal capacity. There is a very clear guideline for the party leaders. Any action or statement must be done or said within the ambit of law and no one is above the law."
Rana is known for making controversial statements.
On the eve of the Lok Sabha election campaign, the BJP leader had stated that "Darul Uloom (in Deoband) is synonymous with terrorism".
In another controversial statement, Rana had said: "There is a 'Shiv Ling' inside the Mecca and Hindus used to live there once."