Twenty-two Christian bodies and tribal organisations will hold a rally in Ranchi to protest against the Religious Freedom Bill, 2017 and the amendment to Land Acquisition Act, 2013, alleging that these are attempts to divide the tribal population along religious lines while grabbing their land. The rally will be held on September 16 in Morabadi, a day after BJP president Amit Shah begins his three-day Jharkhand visit on September 15.
Organisations that will attend the rally include the All India Churches Committee, Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh, Jharkhand Christian Youth Association and Kendriya Sarna Samiti (Pahari Tola). “On the face of it, they look like laws in two different spheres but they are related,” A J Ekka, Chairman of All India Churches Committee, said.
The joint statement issued by the participants read, “It is an attempt to break the unity of tribals on religious ground… while ensuring there would be no problem in grabbing the land.”
YMCA’s general secretary, Chonhas Kujur, said, “… they have got things done very quickly by passing the two Bills… to ensure that the position of the incumbent (Chief Minister Raghubar Das) is strengthened.” Ekka and Kujur said the rally had nothing to with Shah’s visit. However, state BJP spokesperson Deen Dayal Barnwal said, “… it is to secure political mileage. Our president’s programme was finalised three months ago. The Bills have been passed barely over a month ago. Therefore, to say that it is mere coincidence seems far-fetched.”