Amroha: Amid the growing debate on Lord Hanuman`s identity, former cricketer Chetan Chauhan has said that the deity was a sportsperson who is worshipped by many sportspersons even today.
Chauhan added that there should be no politics over Lord Hanuman's caste.
"I believe that he (Lord Hanuman) was a sportsman who use to wrestle with his enemies. All the sportsmen of our country worship him as they require power and energy like him to emerge as a winner like him,'' the former cricketer said.
''The players do not worship him because of his caste. There is no caste of a saint, there is no caste of a mystic and in the same way, we believe in Hanuman Ji. I consider him as God; I do not want him to get associated with some sought of caste," he told reporters on Saturday.
The row over Lord Hanuman`s caste was sparked after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while campaigning ahead of assembly polls in Rajasthan`s Alwar district last month said Hanuman was a "Dalit".
Soon after, a number of spiritual as well as political leaders have put forth varying versions of Lord Hanuman`s identity.
Last week, Bukkal Nawab, a BJP MLC from Uttar Pradesh, claimed that the monkey god was a Muslim while UP's Religious Affairs Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary stated that the Hindu deity belonged to the Jat community.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Sunday demanded an apology from the BJP leaders for "dragging" Lord Hanuman into the politics of "caste and creed".
Singh also said that Hindu bodies like the VHP and Akhada Parishad should condemn the statements made by the BJP leaders over the Hindu deity who is worshipped as an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
"(UP CM Yogi) Adityanath ji said Lord Hanuman was Dalit. BJP's MLC Nawab Bukkal dubbed the deity a Muslim on the ground that his name rhymed with Islamic names like Rahman, Farhan, Ramzan etc. Another BJP minister said Hanuman was a Jat," he told reporters here.
Singh said that the Hindus considered Lord Hanuman as an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
(With Agency inputs)