Ex-BJP MLA booked for ‘stealing’ soil from Sarna Sthal
Kujur, however, denied the allegation, terming it as a political vendetta.Updated: Aug 01, 2020 14:08 IST
The district head of a tribal organization in Ranchi has lodged a criminal case against former BJP tribal legislator Gangotri Kujur and one other person, accusing them of stealing soil from a religious tribal place for Ram temple construction in Ayodhya, officials said on Friday.
“An FIR has been lodged against Kujur and one Depeswar Nath Mishra at Ranchi’s Chanho police station by Kundresi Munda, Ranchi president of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP), under Sections 379, 295 and 153 of the Indian Penal Code,” police said.
Kujur, however, denied the allegation, terming it as a political vendetta. “It is a baseless allegation. We had requested the Pahan (tribal priest) of the Sarna Sthal to give some soil, which will be used during ‘bhoomi pujan’ of Ram temple in Ayodhya, and he accepted our request,” he said.
However, officer in-charge of Chanho police station Dileshwar Kumar said that based on the allegations in the FIR, the accused collected soil clandestinely from Sarna Sthal in Chanho without taking consent from villagers or Sarna Samaj. “We have initiated investigation in the case,” he said.
The complainant said the former legislator and Mishra tried to outrage religious feelings of tribal people of Sarna by stealing soil from Sarna Sthal, pious to the tribals. “In our Sarna religion, nobody is allowed to take soil from the Sarna Sthal for any purpose.”
She said they are not against construction or ‘bhoomi pujan’ of the Ram temple. “It is the pride of Hindus and we respect that. But, we are not Hindus. We have a separate religion. No one has the right to distort our beliefs,” she said.
She further alleged that stealing the soil was a tactic by a section of people to exhibit that tribals are a part of the Hindu religion, which is a conspiracy to weaken their demand for a separate religion code.
Tribals in Jharkhand have been demanding for Sarna as separate religious code in the Census for decades. Jharkhand Congress and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) had also included the demand in their manifesto during the Assembly polls last year.
Kujur said the allegation was to malign her image in the area. “A handful of people want to create division in the society,” Kujur said.
On a call of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), soils from 2,100 religious places, including temples, Sarna Sthals, gurudwaras, Jain temples and Buddha Vihars and holy water from 51 small and big rivers in Jharkhand, were collected for ‘bhoomi pujan’ of the Ram temple, scheduled on August 5.
VHP state secretary Birendra Sahu said, “We have not collected the soil, but it was the people from particular religions who had collected and given it to us. We transported the collected soil and holy water to Ayodhya on July 26.”
However, the collection of soil from Sarna Sthal has created a rift among different tribal groups. While a section of tribal groups have protested it, other sections welcomed the move.