New Delhi [India]: Former Jharkhand Chief Minister and state BJP president Babulal Marandi on Monday termed religious conversion a ‘major problem’ not only in the state but also in the entire country and further suggested conserving the religious places to deal with the issue.
Speaking to media in an interview, Babulal Marandi also accused the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha government led by state Chief Minister Hemant Soren of promoting religious conversion in the state.
‘Religious conversion is a major problem, not only for Jharkhand but the entire country. The previous state government had formed laws to punish anyone who converts people by luring them or forcefully after a complaint is made against them,’ the 65-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party leader told media when asked if illegal conversions gained momentum in Jharkhand soon after Hemant Soren govervt came in power.
‘There was fear among people but after Hemant Soren’s government came, the fear among the people died. When there was the BJP government, we started conserving their religious places. When the Hemant Soren government was formed, it caused laxity and did not pay much attention towards that. I still believe that if we have to stop conversion, we need to conserve and develop their religious places,’ Marandi added.
The leader further said that former Chief Ministers of Jharkhand, including Raghubar Das and Arjun Munda, took various steps to curb religious corruption while the work started by the previous governments was gradually cooled down and completely ignored soon after Hemant Soren government came into power.
Even today, Marandi said, ‘If the conversion is to be stopped then there is a need to preserve the center of faith (religious place) of the people.’
Asked about allegations that the tribal population of Jharkhand has decreased, the first Chief Minister of Jharkhand said, ‘People are migrating outside Jharkhand in search of employment.’
‘To stop migration, it is necessary to arrange employment for the people. It is necessary to pay attention to tourism, industry and other sectors,’ he added.
He further slammed the ruling JMM government for its ‘laxity’ in these sectors which caused migration to Uttarakhand, Hyderabad, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and other states where Jharkhand workers can be seen.
‘The previous government had paid attention to all industry, tourism and other sectors, but as soon as Hemant Chauhan’s government was formed, the focus gradually shifted from there,’ said Marandi citing his experience while talking to people during his recent concluded ‘Sankalp Yatra’ through which the leader covered a distance of 3,749 km in Jharkhand.
Noting that 26 per cent of the Jharkhand population belongs to Scheduled Tribes (STs) and 12 per cent of Scheduled Castes (SCs), Marandi said, ‘The work of both SC and ST is different. As of today, both of them are in trouble because the tribals do not have much land and if they have land, they don’t have irrigation facilities. And the condition of the Dalit class is also similar because they have no employment opportunities in the state. Now, people are migrating to other states from Jharkhand.’