Shama says BJP is a threat to Christians, identity of the people of Meghalaya

Congress national spokesperson Dr Shama Mohamad

SHILLONG, FEB 23: Congress national spokesperson Dr Shama Mohamad on Thursday said the BJP is a threat to the Christians and ST identity of the people of Meghalaya.

Shama told reporters that recently the Janajati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch (an organisation backed by RSS) has demanded the removal of the Scheduled Tribe Status of converted Christians.

This is against the spirit of respecting the indigenous ethnic origin of the Scheduled Tribes of the North East, especially the Christian community in Meghalaya and Nagaland.

“It also demonstrates the compelling need of BJP to repeatedly invoke their anti-Christian mentality. Will the BJP let us know if they plan to implement this if they come to power in Meghalaya?” she asked.

Shama also asked the BJP to come clear on whether it will pass the anti-conversion bill like it did in Karnataka last year.

She said the BJP’s demand for a Uniform Civil Code throughout the country shows its majoritarian mindset and poses a threat to the unique cultural identity of the tribes of Meghalaya and other North Eastern states.

She asked, “What is their stand with respect to Meghalaya and the other North East States that have their own unique customary laws? What protection and guarantee will BJP give to Meghalaya and other Christian states of North East on the increasing attacks on churches in various parts of India and that was also witnessed in Meghalaya and Assam recently?”

The Congress leader said innocents are lynched on allegations of eating beef and transporting cattle which has become common in our country since the BJP came to power.

“What is the stand of BJP on these matters when it comes to Meghalaya? They are seen to have two different stands when they are in Meghalaya and other Christian states like Mizoram and Nagaland than when they are in the rest of the country,” she added.

Stating that religious profiling of Christians in neighbouring Assam is a dangerous precedent, Shama said, “What guarantee is there that it will not happen in Meghalaya and other Christian states?”

She reminded that the Congress has always believed in unity in diversity and said, “We believe that our diversity is our greatest strength. We respect the uniqueness of every state in the country. Congress believes in inclusive politics. We respect the diversity of Meghalaya as well as the entire North East with its indigenous and ethnic rights.”

Accusing the BJP of trying to scrap the Sixth Schedule, the Congress spokesperson said, “The BJP government at the Centre has proposed the 125th Constitution Amendment Bill 2021 (Sixth Schedule Amendment). That means in the near future the entire Sixth Schedule which gives protection and safeguards the rights and identities of the indigenous tribes of Meghalaya could be scrapped.”

She said Mizo National Front-led government in Mizoram has given negative comments regarding the proposed Amendment of Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. Notably BJP was MNFs partner when it came into power.

“The Sixth Schedule was brought by the Congress Government to give protection to the indigenous and ethnic rights of the people of Meghalaya. The Congress Party remains committed to its ideology of respecting the rights of its ethnic brothers and sisters of Meghalaya and other North Eastern States,” she said.

She said the BJP is an alliance partner in Meghalaya with the NPP led MDA Government having only 2 MLA’s yet they behave like they own the state.

“You will notice more posters and hoardings in the streets than their alliance partners. Wherever they go the BJP gobbles up the regional parties as seen in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. They do not believe in the regional aspirations of the people in the states but want to bring everyone under one umbrella of language, faith, food, dress and even color.”

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