The Meghalaya government has decided against observing Digital India Day on April 14 because it coincides with Good Friday, an important occasion for the state’s Christian-majority population.
Chief minister Mukul Sangma took strong exception to the NDA government’s decision to hold the event on a sacred day, and stated that it was an attempt to “dilute the secular fabric of the nation”.
“I will be writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi because it is necessary for me to express concern on behalf of the people with special reference to the Northeast, which has a significant Christian population,” he said on Tuesday.
Nearly 75% of Meghalaya’s two-million population (Census 2011) are Christians. Other states in the region with a Christian-majority population are Nagaland (88%) and Mizoram (87%).
Addressing mediapersons in Shillong, Sangma said the state government has already written to the Union cabinet secretary in this regard. The Congress government in the state had earlier expressed resentment against the Centre’s decision to observe Good Governance Day on December 25, the same day as Christmas.
“We have to be candid in asking: What is their agenda? Observing Good Governance Day on Christmas and now Digital India Day on Good Friday? Are they trying to marginalise the minority?” Sangma questioned.
The fresh development comes amid a strong push by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to come to power in the state, which goes to the polls next year. The party is already in power in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Besides this, it is part of the Naga People’s Front-led coalition in Nagaland.
In a bid to win electoral support ahead of the assembly polls, senior leaders of the party have clarified that cow slaughter won’t be enforced in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram – three states where consumption of beef is allowed.