Nagaland Congress opposes immersion of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ashes in a ‘Christian majority state’

In another display of pettiness by the Congress, the Nagaland State Congress labelled the immersion of ashes of Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an imposition of ‘alien rituals’ on the state, which is a ‘Christian majority state’.

The Congress on Friday said the immersion of Vajpayee’s ashes in some selected rivers of the country had been turned into a “political circus” by BJP and its Nagaland unit.

“The activities of BJP Nagaland and particularly its state president displaying their eagerness to please their communal masters by following and observing rituals that are alien to our way of life is an insult to all right-thinking Nagas. While Nagas have been struggling for the past seven decades to protect our unique history, the all-out attempt by state BJP to assimilate themselves into a new alien culture as dictated by their high command is a severe assault on the aspirations of the Nagas and their future,” the Congress had said.

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The party furthered, “Respecting others’ belief and culture should not be at the cost of compromising our very own belief and culture that forms the core foundation of our existence as an individual and a tribe. The zealous conduct of the State BJP president (Temjen Imna Along Longkumer) in propagating the Hindutva culture of the RSS in the State which is even despised by the majority of Hindus across the country, therefore, needs to be seriously condemned.”

However, Despite Nagaland State Congress’ acrimony over the move to immerse Vajpayee’s ashes in the Doyang river, the BJP state unit chief Temjen Imna Along Longkumer, undeterred, said the ashes would be immersed on Monday. “Yes, I will immerse the ashes in Doyang river on Monday,” he told The New Indian Express.

He had brought the ashes from New Delhi on Thursday and kept it at his residence in state capital Kohima.

Reacting to the criticism by the Congress on the issue, Longkumer said: “Congress is doing its job. There is no ritual, only respect to our departed leader”.

Meanwhile, in another Christian-majority state, Mizoram, Vajpayee’s ashes were immersed in Tlawng river.

The urn, containing the ashes, was brought to Aizawl from New Delhi by state BJP chief JV Hluna. The immersion followed a funeral with full Christian religious honour at BJP’s state head office.

The party in its attempt to ensure that admirers could pay floral tributes to the people’s leader had decided that the urns carrying late Vajpayeeji’s ashes travel to every taluka of the country.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had gathered along with senior leader Ram Lal and Vajpayee’s family members at the old headquarters to hand over the urns to President’s of the party’s state units from all over the country.

The ‘Atal Ashti Kalash yatra’ will lead to the immersion of the former Prime Minister ashes in nearly 100 rivers across the country.


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