Meeting Cardinal not to be seen as compromise with idealism, Munda

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Ranchi, Nov 16 (UNI) Leader of the Opposition and senior BJP leader Arjun Munda today defended his recent meeting with Cardinal Telesphor Toppo, ruling out getting soft on party ethics.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Munda asserted that if the NDA came to power in the next election, the state government would bring a legislation against forceful conversion of religion.

He said, ''I called on the Cardinal...it was very private...but it should not be construed as a compromise. '' ''I have asked the Cardinal being a tribal, how could he become a priest,'' Mr Munda said at a news conference here and eavded a direct reply as to what followed that question.

The BJP leader said among the tribals nobody was a Christian by birth and it was only ''Sarna religion'' that was followed by the tribal community in Jharkhand.

Though he did not name anybody by that, he dropped enough hint that the present generation of the Christians in the state was originally ''Sarna'' followers and they could not afford to show disrespect to their forefathers.

Mr Munda's statement assumed significance in the wake of the recent controversy involving ''Nemha Bible'' in which derogatory remarks were allegedly made against the ''Sarna'' followers.

The issue even rocked the proceedings of last the Assembly sessions, forcing the Bible Society of India to seek unqualified apology.

UNI PRS SJC SBC CS1826

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