An Indian lawyer has filed a case against Hindu god Lord Ram over the alleged mistreatment of his wife Sita. Lord Ram's brother, Laxman, has also been accused of helping Lord Ram in "renouncing" Sita.
Lawyer Thakur Chandan Kumar Singh claimed that Lord Ram banished his wife Sita to live in exile in a forest, citing the move as "hypocritical" and "cruel". Singh said that there was no valid reason for Sita's banishment and that she was later found innocent of the charges that forced her into exile.
According to the Hindustan Times, Singh said: "The devi (goddess) was exiled for no fault of hers. How can a man become so cruel to his wife that he sends her off to live in a forest?"
The case is due to be heard in a court in Bihar on 1 February and sparked nationwide discussion on the morning of the hearing. Ram's name was trending on Twitter as thousands of Indians took to social media to defend the god, criticising the lawyer for "offending" Hindus.
Singh has said that his intention was not to hurt anyone's religious beliefs, however, he believed the crime committed by Lord Ram was a "non-cognisable offence", which meant that the police would be unable to make an arrest without a warrant issued by a court order.
In his complaint, Singh said: "Lord Rama did not think for a single moment how a woman could live alone amid wild animals, including reptiles and mammals, in the forest."
According to the Hindu text Rayamana, Lord Ram was banished to the forest for 14 years, during which his wife Sita and brother Laxman accompanied him. Upon their return to the Kingdom of Ayodhya, rumours began to spread about Sita's purity following the news of her pregnancy. Lord Ram reluctantly gives into public opinion to banish his wife to the forest.