Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik has said that the upper castes did not assist Lord Ram when he was banished from Ayodhya, adding that only tribals, adivasis and people from the lower castes who helped him.

In his first official speech late Thursday after taking charge as Governor on November 3, Malik said that when a trust body for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya is constituted, he will lobby for the idols of Kewat and Shabari to be installed at the durbar hall of the temple.

Kewat refers to a boatman who helped Ram, Sita and Laxman cross the Ganga, while according to Valmiki’s Ramayana, Shabari was an old tribal woman who was a devotee of Ram.

Addressing the second Adivasi Students’ Conference at South Goa’s Ponda town, Malik said, “When Ram’s wife Mother Sita was kidnapped, Ram’s brother was the king of Ayodhya. Not a single soldier, not one person from Ayodhya came to his (Ram’s) aid. When he (Ram) walked all the way to Sri Lanka, all along the way there were only adivasis, tribals, only people from lower castes. Can anyone tell me whether anyone from a higher caste fought along with him?”