Now 'Jai Sri Ram' Chant used to intimidate MLAs: Jharkand

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: July 26, 2019
Ranchi: In the latest “use” of the Hindu sermon ‘Jai Shri Ram,’ the Jharkhand state assembly witnessed a serious disruption, with the legislators of the supremacist BJP raising the slogans in a clearly intimidatory fashion, while the opposition was attempting to hold discussions on the controversial amendments to the Indian Forests Act (IFA), 1927.

Jharkhand BJP

As reported in The Pioneer, the house was adjourned twice in the ongoing monsoon session after BJP legislators from Bokaro, Viranchi Narayan raised the slogan of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, which soon was followed by other lawmakers, State Urban Development Minister CP Singh and Minister of Labour, Employment and Training Raj Paliwar. The lawmakers went on chanting the slogan as the JMM MLAs were demanding Government’s stand on proposed amendments to the IFA, 1927.

JMM MLA from Baharagora, Kunal Sarangi, demanded the government’s stand on the issue at hand at the start of the session. Leader of Opposition, Hemant Soren, also called for clarifications on the government’s stand in the house. Soren said, “The Union government was sharpening its axe with a new amendment to the Indian Forest Act (IFA) 1927. But, due to large scale protest from environmentalist, human and social right activists the Supreme Court has put stay on its earlier order. At the same time the SC had directed all States to submit an affidavit clearing their stand on the proposed amendment.”

Congress MLA from Lohardaga, Sukhdeo Bharat, also joined in this demand and said, “, “States such as Jharkhand having high forest cover will be badly affected with the proposed amendments as around 13 lakh Adivasi (tribal) will be displaced from their home (forest). We request the Government to disclose their stand on the proposed amendment.” However, the speaker refused to entertain these demands as the matter is sub-judice in the Supreme Court.

Outside the Assembly, the arguments continued between the ruling legislation and the opposition members. Minister of Revenue and Land Reforms Amar Kumar Bauri said, “It was not the ruling party legislators who first raised the slogan of ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The BJP members resorted to ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan after JMM legislator from Torpa, Paulus Surin said that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ won’t work in the Assembly.” Urban Development Minister CP Singh said that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is in their mind, heart and soul. He shockingly said, “If the house was adjourned due to sloganeering of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ then it is not a big issue.”

This video around the incident elaborates what actually transpired. In this video, it can clearly be seen how the Congress MLA Irfan Ansari is threatened by the BJP legislator CP Singh when the former demands for basic necessities like food, education, shelter, electricity, etc. Instead of giving concrete replies to these valid demands, CP Singh compels Ansari to say Jai Shri Ram. Not only that, he keeps on saying how ‘Jai Shri Ram’ (Hindus) were Ansari’s ancestors as well and not Babur, Taimur, etc., throughout the video.

Congress legislator from Jamtara, Irfan Ansari said, “Shri Ram is Maryada Purushottam whose life is ideal for all, but the BJP MLAs by restoring to ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan inside the House are restoring to dirty politics. The Saffron party members go for such actions whenever an election approaches with an aim to disturb communal harmony in State.”

‘Jai Shri Ram’ is increasingly being used by the ruling party and the right-wing Hindutva fundamentalists alike. It has become a weapon to kill, to torture, to instigate and/or to silence the dissenters. Our previous study on mob lynching cases has shown how ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is a constant in lynching cases where the victim, usually a Muslim, is forced to chant the slogan which in a way also helps to silence the spectators. Killing in the name of God, particularly the Hindu God Ram, has unfortunately become the new normal. One cannot then but draw parallels between violence in the name of Ram and the Ayodhya – Ram Mandir issue, which has been a battleground for communal tensions. Notably, the ruling regime has promised to build a Ram temple at the disputed site of Ayodhya.

Just recently, 49 celebrities had written to the Prime Minister demanding immediate action against perpetrators of hate crimes and human rights violations. The letter also brought the attention of the PM to the use of Lord Ram in cases of violence. It stated, “Regrettably ‘Jai Shree Ram’ has become a provocative ‘war-cry’ today that leads to law and order problems, and many lynching take place in its name.” It goes on to state, “The name of Ram is sacred to many in the majority community of India. As the highest executive of this country, you must put a stop to the name of Ram being defiled in this manner.”

Use of the Hindu sermon now in Legislative assemblies follows what happened in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) at the start of the current session. Neither the prime minister nor the Speaker of the House—ostensibly a non-partisan figure—did anything to restrain these developments.
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