Atal Bihari Vajpayee's ashes immersed in Nagaland river after protest (Photo: PTI)
BJP leaders immersed the ashes of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Dhansari river instead of the Doyang in Christian-dominated Nagaland after protests from a few local groups, who said the practice was alien to Naga culture and tradition, a party leader said on Tuesday.
BJP had planned to immerse the ashes in Doyang river, the largest in the state, which flows through Wokha district.
Following protests from locals, the urn containing the ashes was immersed in Dhansari river near Dimapur on Monday, the BJP leader said.
Lotha Hoho, the apex tribal body of Wokha district, and Lotha Baptish Churches Association had opposed the immersion of ashes in Doyang river, saying it was unknown to Naga culture and tradition.
The opposition Naga Peoples Front on Tuesday charged the BJP with “hurting” the sentiments of Naga people by bringing the ashes of the former prime minister for immersion in the state.
“Vajpayee was a renowned leader and highly respected and admired by not only his party but one and all, and therefore deserves the highest respect from all of us,” NPF spokesperson Achumbemo Kikon told reporters. But the BJP should not mix politics with religious rituals, he said.
“Naga people have every right to feel bad and feel provoked with the action of BJP leaders in a state which has 99 per cent Christian population,” Kikon added.