The Meghalaya Trinamool Congress (TMC) has slammed the National People’s Party (NPP) for failing to take a stand against the recent Assam Police directive seeking information on churches and religious conversions in the region while also hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for implementing its anti-minorities agenda.
TMC’s state vice-president George B Lyngdoh on December 28 said the NPP should question BJP instead of targeting the TMC.
“As we were highlighting the Assam church survey order, we saw reports that some NPP leaders had commented that we should not talk about all this. In fact, [they said that] we should not bring such communal issues to the people’s notice as it is election time,” Lyngdoh said.
Referring to NPP leaders’ “frivolous” comments on the matter, the Umroi legislator said, “They are also saying that such letters and orders being given by the Assam administration are not of people’s concerns. As a party, we are really surprised that a political party is working hand-in-glove with the BJP and stands with them once again. They are supporting the BJP by not questioning the letter and questioning us instead, as we are raising concerns.”
He also said that the Assam Police’s directives to survey the number of churches in the region and instances of religious conversion in the past six years violated the constitutional rights of the people.
Article 25 of the Constitution gives every person the right to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality, and health.
“We have to question why we, who raised the issues, are being asked to keep quiet. If this is not a people’s issue or a citizen’s concern, then whose concern would it be? As elected members and part of a responsible political party, we will not deter or withdraw. We will keep on highlighting these issues, whether it is election mode or non-elective mode. We will keep on fighting for the citizens,” he said.
The senior leader also said that the Meghalaya BJP’s decision to meet Assam chief minister on the matter was only due to Meghalaya TMC’s repeated calls for accountability. “Today, we read news reports stating that Meghalaya BJP has sought a meeting with Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to express their “concerns” over the Assam police’s church survey order. It appears to be a step in the right direction. We are glad to see that this step was taken only after the Meghalaya TMC highlighted the letter and brought it to public notice,” Lyngdoh said, adding that the party will continue to call for accountability from the governments in the state and the Centre.
On Monday, Meghalaya TMC demanded an answer as to why investigations were suddenly ordered into the number of churches in Assam and instances of religious conversion.
BJP against minorities, claims TMC
Lyngdoh also hit out at the BJP for turning away from the people of the country and implementing its agenda which is against the minorities.
The TMC leader also reiterated his point that the Centre is keeping a close watch on the activities of Christians in the state.
Lyngdoh said that the peace which exists between various communities should remain in the state.
He said that the intention of the BJP is to bring differences among the various communities and pointed out the December 27 incident in the St Mary’s Church in Mysuru’s Periyapatna in Karnataka which was vandalised and the statue of baby Jesus was destroyed.