GUWAHATI: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ashes were immersed in the Dhansiri river at a low-key function organized by the Nagaland BJP on Monday amid opposition by church leaders and pressure groups against the move in the Christian-dominated state. The urn containing the ashes was brought to the state on Thursday.
State party president Temjen Imna Along told TOI the ashes were immersed around 8am without incident. He said a Hindu priest performed the rituals in the presence of BJP members, most of whom were Christians. “We paid our homage in the Christian tradition. There should not be any controversy over this. It is unfortunate that some people are blowing the issue out of proportion,” he added.
He said sensing trouble, the venue of the immersion ritual and the time were changed. Party insiders said some people had gathered to oppose the function. “We made the ceremony a quiet affair so as not to attract attention,” a BJP insider said.
The BJP is part of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP)-led People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government in Nagaland. Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) general secretary, Reverend Zelhou Keyho, said the party should have shown sensitivity towards the religious sentiments of people. (TOI)