Instances of forcibly taking away and stealing of the idols of Vanvasis have increased after the Congress came to power in Chhattisgarh. Local Vanvasi leaders also say that conversions in the region have increased in recent times.
Janjatis of Chhatisgarh worship many local deities like Gwalin Sarna, whose idols are on the radar of govt officials and Christian missionaries
The Janjatis of Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh had repeatedly complained about the theft of idols from their places of worship in recent times. Despite several such complaints to the administration and the police, no action was taken. But now it seems that the culprits are the government officials themselves. The Janjati people have accused the administration and government officials of forcibly taking away their idols
on one pretext or the other.
Recently, two idols which were hundreds of years old, were taken away from Dhardhari village of Jashpur. Local Janjati people complained to the police immediately but the police did not register a FIR and did not even bother to investigate. This lackadaisical attitude of the police officials angered them.
In fact, according to the locals, the forest dwellers had written a complaint letter to the administration on 26th May regarding the forcible confiscation of the idol of Gwalin Sarna, the local diety of the Vanvasi Samaj. As per this letter, a vehicle from the Chhattisgarh government arrived at the gates of Gwalin on 26th May at around 3.00PM. They had come to organise labor for government works on the orders of the Tehsildar of the Village Panchayat at Haridia
Complaint letter by local Vanvasis to the district administration on 26th May
During this time, an attempt was made to forcibly take away the idol by misleading the villagers. The villagers strongly opposed this. Seeing the strong protests by the local residents, the government officials then went away after conducting a general enquiry. According to a news in a local news paper, a Christian woman was also among those who tried to take the idol away. Locals have also said that she was making vulgar remarks about Hindu deities which angered them.
A local Vanvasi dweller Baldev Ram has come on record and informed the way the idols of local deities have been taken away in several Janjati villages. Speaking to 'The Narrative World
', he says that attempts were made to steal the idols in his village too but they protested and stopped the officials. He also narrated the modus operandi where an govt engineer says that they want to take the idol away as a sample for a government museum.
Earlier on April 15, another idol was stolen from the same village. Local Vanvasis had complained to the police about this but no action was taken. The villagers allege that the chief executive officer and the Tehsildar of the block had come to ask for the idol at around 2:30 am on April 14 before the theft took place but refused to give the idol. The next day the idol was stolen.
There have been allegations of frequent conversion by Christian missionaries in these forest areas. Most of these instances have increased after the Congress government came to power in the state. People of local Janjatis too allege the such incidents of stealing of their idols by the officials of the administration have increased after the Congress came to power in Chhattisgarh.
Press note by Jashpur villagers on stealing on idols of local deities during lockdown
There has been no information regarding the already stolen idols. In such a situation, the local Vanvasi Samaj has made it clear that they will not tolerate any attempts to forcibly take away the idols of their deities from any temple. They have said that if Lockdown had not been imposed, they would have strongly protested and sat on a indefinite dharna until they got justice.
Many leaders the Vanvasi Samaj say that the stealing of the idols from Janjatis indicate a huge international conspiracy. The international nexus of the missionaries in such acts is clearly in front of everyone. Further, they are using the government machinery to mess with the lives of the innocent Janjatis and thereby attempting to make them angry and revolt against the government, say local leaders.