Intolerance – Christian force BJP to immerse Vajpayee’s in small river

After protests, Vajpayee’s ashes immersed in Nagaland’s ‘unnamed river’

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/after-protests-vajpayees-ashes-immersed-in-unnamed-river-in-nagaland/article24792916.ece

In this October 28, 2003 file picture, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, dressed in traditional Naga dress, addressing a public meeting in Kohima, Nagaland.In this October 28, 2003 file picture, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, dressed in traditional Naga dress, addressing a public meeting in Kohima, Nagaland.   | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

The Nagaland Joint Christian Forum too said they were deeply concerned about the issue of immersion of Vajpayee’s ashes. “

Protests from tribal organisations made the BJP in Christian majority Nagalandopt for a ‘lesser’ river instead of the Doyang to immerse the ashes of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday.

The Doyang is Nagaland’s longest and biggest river flowing from Japfu, the State’s second highest peak, and flows northward through Kohima, Zuhneboto and Wokha districts. The former Prime Minister’s ashes were to be immersed in Wokha district dominated by the Lotha Nagas.

On Sunday, the Lotha Hoho – apex body of the Lothas – said the BJP could perform the ritual alien to Naga culture and religious belief” anywhere in Nagaland except the Wokha area. It also asked the BJP to refrain from going against local sentiments.

The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) on Friday said the immersion of Vajpayee’s ashes in a river in the State was an insult to “our way of life”, as well as to the memory of the former Prime Minister.

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The urns containing ash of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on August 22, 2018 before their distribution to BJP State presidents.

Immersion of Vajpayee ashes: BJP criticised for imposing ‘alien culture’ on Nagaland

In a statement, the NPCC said the BJP and its Nagaland unit had turned the immersion of ashes into a “circus” for petty political gains.

The Nagaland Joint Christian Forum too said they were deeply concerned about the issue of immersion of Vajpayee’s ashes. “We are not against any homage or practice of the party but to insist on carrying out the religious rite and culture of a certain religion which BJP keenly affiliates itself to, is suspect,” forum’s vice president N. Paphino said in a statement.

BJP’s Nagaland unit chief Temjen Imna Along Longkumer said the immersion was performed quietly in an unnamed river in Dimapur district without hurting the sentiments of anyone. Protests outside the BJP’s office in Dimapur, the State’s commercial hub, in the morning necessitated the change of plan.

A BJP leader said the immersion was done in one of the smaller rivers beyond the municipal limits of Dimapur.

The BJP workers, Mr. Longkumer said, were asked to gather at the Dimapur party office at 9 am. The protesters started gathering in the area by 8 am, making it clear the immersion would not be allowed to take place within the town.

“This [protest] should not have happened. Atalji is a national icon and should not be association with any religion. The State BJP’s minority morcha had taken the lead in immersing the ashes. As Christians, we all prayed in the presence of priests,” he said.

Mr. Longkumer insisted he did what he thought was right and that he was clear in his conscience. He cited the example of Mizoram, another Christian majority State, where Vajpayee’s ashes were immersed in the Tlawng river on Friday without any opposition.

In Mizoram

Representatives of the ruling Congress, other regional parties and civil society groups in Mizoram took part in the immersion ceremony that followed a funeral with Christian honour for the former Prime Minister

 

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