Ranchi, July 23: Main opposition party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has alleged that state Tourism Minister Amar Bawri, who belongs to the Dalit community, was "humiliated" by the Jharkhand government as he was "prevented" from inaugurating the famed Shravani Mela at Baba Baidyanath temple in Deoghar district on July 19.
"The BJP is humiliating Dalits all over the country. Even the BJP-led Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand is humiliating Dalits. Jharkhand Tourism Minister Amar Bawri was prevented from inaugurating the Shravani Mela," Hemant Soren, former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Executive President of JMM, told reporters here on Saturday.
"The invitation card had first mentioned the name of Tourism Minister Amar Bawri as to inaugurate the Shravani Mela. They brought out a second invitation card, which was printed in a hurry, that mentioned the name of Urban Development Minister C.P. Singh as the person who would inaugurate the Mela. The state government has humiliated its own Minister who belongs to the Dalit community," Hemant Soren added.
As per tradition, the Chief Minister inaugurates the Shravani Mela every year. But, this year Urban Development Minister C.P. Singh inaugurated the Shravani Mela on July 19.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has refuted the charge. "The JMM is making it a political issue. The BJP respects people of every caste and religion," Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Pradeep Sinha told IANS.
More than 25 lakh devotees offer water on the Shiva Linga during the Shravan month at Baba Baidynath temple in Deoghar district of Jharkhand every year. The devotees take Ganges water from Sultanganj of Bihar and walk around 110 km to offer water on the Shiva Linga. Legend says that the Demon King Ravana had established the Shiva Linga.
The controversy comes at a time when the issue of Dalits being thrashed in BJP-ruled Gujarat's Una district has drawn flak from all quarters.