Who are behind the Patthargarhi movement?
It is entirely the handiwork of the Christian Missionaries. It is general perception here. One thing which needs to be understood about this movement is that the Sanatani STs have nothing to do with it and those who have converted to Christianity are carrying it forward. They are not STs at all. On May 6, when the administrative machinery went Batunga to speak to the people in this regard the Hindu STs and converted tribes of the village came against each other. The converted tribes are trying to mislead the people and the media claiming that the Hindu STs are with them. But this is not correct. Whereas the Hindu STs on May 6 clearly told the officials that until the administration removes the Patthargarhi, they would not speak to them. It means they are against this conspiracy.
Recently we conducted a Padyatra in the area and more than 10,000 Hindu STs joined it. They opposed Patthargarhi and after the function they broke Patthargarhi pillar. It is the first incident in Jashpur when the STs in the entire tribal belt came out against it in such a huge number. The Chief Ministers of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are taking action against those involved in it. But I feel this action should have been taken earlier. The converted tribals are trying to mislead the entire country that all STs are in favour of Patthargarhi. It is entirely church supported move, which we condemn in strongest words. We will oppose it with our full might.
There are reports that they have closed schools also?
Yes, they have done it in Jharkhand. They have taken over school syllabous also. They are teaching at their will. Instead of teaching ‘Ch’ for ‘Chacha Nehru’ they are teaching ‘Ch’ for ‘Chor Nehru’. It is the style followed by Talibanis and Naxals. We don’t want any such Talibani system in India. We are with the entire nation and with the Constitution of India. Our ancestors merged their provinces into the Indian Union to be ruled as per the Indian Constitution. Why should we accept the law of such elements? Naxalism has to be dealt with iron hand and should be finished entirely. Patthargarhi is directly connected to conversion and Naxalism. During the Sadbhavan Yatra these elements took policemen and other officials hostage. How can they dare it? Tomorrow they can do anything. Hence, it has to be dealt with iron hand.
It said that since the Home Ministry excluded Jashpur from LWE, the Naxals are trying to make their presence felt through such activities?
It is not like that. Patthargarhi is going on for a long time. Jashpur was never in the grip of Naxals. We feel the fund which is sent to such areas to tackle naxals is more required at Bangladesh and J&K borders. We have been dealing with such elements even before the deployment of CRPF in this area.
Do you feel the areas where the Patthargarhi movement is going on are really neglected with respect of development?
I can talk about Jashpur only. Electricity could not reach in some areas because of certain forest regulations. The government has tried to provide solar light there. Roads are in perfect condition there. This movement has nothing to with development. It is the conspiracy of those who want that outside people should not enter in their villages so that they can continue their anti-national activities without hindrance.
What needs to be done to arrest such anti-India activities?
I feel the government should try to ascertain the number of converted people in the country through fresh census and ensure that the converted people must not get the benefit of reservation provided to the Hindus. There are large numbers of people who get converted and still enjoy the benefits of reservation. This must stop. The government has done a good work by putting restrictions on international funding. It has also put a proper check on the misuse of fake ration cards. Equally, it should put a check on those who even after conversion continue to enjoy the benefits of reservation.