Bible controversy rocks J'khand Assembly

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Ranchi, Sep 23 (UNI) The Jharkhand government will direct the Bible Society of India to tender an apology and recall a translated version of the Bible, following intense criticism in the House that the the holy book was aimed at hurting the sentiment of a particular tribal community in the state.

Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi assured the House after the Opposition NDA raised the issue over controversial translation of the book, which forced Speaker Alalmgir Alam to adjourn the House till 1200 hrs after a 40-minute hullabaloo.

No sooner had the Speaker resumed the seat to begin the day's proceedings than the Opposition, mainly the Sarna adivasi legislators, stood up taking strong exception to 'Nemha Bible' published by the Bible Society of India, Bengaluru.

Chandresh Rao (BJP) led the agitated members, who said the translated version made ''defamatory'' remarks to Sarna religion of the Adivasis, which was deplorable and asked the government to punish the culprits.

Despite repeated pleas from the Chair and Treasury bench, the Opposition went to the well and sat on the floor raising slogans against the publishers and government for its alleged 'inaction'.

The Deputy Chief Minister's assurance that the government would probe the matter did not pacify the Opposition who demanded stern and immediate action against the guilty.

When Mr Marandi said the Bible was published in 1995 and nobody took notice of it, the Opposition countered that it was not expected of the Sarna religion followers to read that Holy book and find out the mistake.

Neelkanth Singh Munda (BJP) said the deputy chief minister was aware of the fact that the book was published in 1995, but his silence over the issue indicated the design to ''tarnish'' Sarna's sentiment had been framed by him only.

Mr Marandi said as the book was translated into Kurukh language, a regional dialect, he neither could read the script nor understand it.

With acrimony continuing the government asserted that it would ask the publication's director to tender an apology and recall the book.

UNI PRS KK MIR NS1815

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