Jharkhand kissing contest: BJP seeks apology from JMM leaders
JMM’s Littipara legislator Simon Marandi had organised a kissing contest at his native village Dumaria in Jharkhand’s Pakur district on Saturday evening.india Updated: Dec 12, 2017 11:18 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday accused Christian leaders of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha of hatching a well-founded conspiracy to malign the tribal culture and custom by introducing western concepts after a JMM legislator organised a kissing contest among tribal couples.
“It’s a serious issue and these leaders should immediately seek a public apology from respective tribal village heads. They have no business except to lure people into alcoholism and immoral fun and frolic,” BJP’s senior tribal leader Hemlal Murmu told the Hindustan Times.
JMM’s Littipara legislator Simon Marandi had organised a kissing contest at his native village Dumaria in Jharkhand’s Pakur district on Saturday evening. The contest was part of various other events during the two-day fair, Dumaria Mela, which he has been organising for the last 37 years.
Over 18-odd tribal couples locked lips in the presence of thousands of people of Pahariya community, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) of Santhal Pargana. JMM’s MLA Marandi had said it was an initiative to check growing cases of divorces and differences between couples in the tribal community in the region.
Marandi retained the Littipara assembly seat by defeating BJP’s Hemlal Murmu by 12,900 votes in the April 2017 byelection.
“JMM’s Christian legislators are trying to destroy Santhal’s rich tribal culture and custom by introducing the western culture, which we protest as tribal and BJP leader,” Murmu said.
He said Santhal people burnt effigies of JMM legislators at different places on Monday to protest against the event.
“It is ridiculous that such contest having prize money worth Rs 900, Rs 700 and Rs 500 for first, second and third position respectively will restrict growing cases of divorce and differences in Santhal tribal community,” Murmu said, adding, organising a kissing contest to strengthen the relationship between wife and husband is nothing but insanity.
He said the party would continue its protest against JMM legislators in Santhal Pargana until they sought an apology from the tribal village head.
Tribal groups also lodged a protest against the incident.
“Men and women from our community participate together in festivals and dancing events. But, the kissing contest has never been part of our culture. It is very disappointing,” religious leader of the Sarnas Bandhan Tigga said.
Simon Marandi’s party JMM was, however, tight-lipped over the issue and refused to comment.
“We do not want to comment on the issue,” JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya said.