Is Gujarat govt trying to saffronize its tribal population?

Hyderabad: Every person belonging to the tribal community in Gujarat can now claim Rs 5,000 for a trip to Ayodhya as the state government has decided to give a special financial aid to them if they undertake the controversial Ram Janamabhoomi (which was built over the demolished Babri masjid) in Ayodhya. The evidence of Ram Lalla darshan will be mandatory.

What is being claimed as a part of a tribal development and welfare program, is that the scheme could be replicated in other Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states, a BJP source reportedly claimed.

A BJP tribal leader told Vibes of India “After all, tribals, constitute over 11 crore people in India and we are all descendants of Shabri, the mythological forest dweller Adivasi lady who fondly fed Lord Ram sweet berries in the Ramayan.” Apart from Dussehra Mahotsava, other special function will be held in tribal areas at all pilgrimage places associated with Lord Ram.

Purnesh Modi, Gujarat’s tourism and pilgrimage development minister at a big tribal gathering at Shabri Dham on Dussehra remarked “Since we, one crore of people of Gujarat, are direct descendants of Mata Shabri who was a Ram devotee, all tribals will be given a special assistance of Rs 5,000 per person to visit Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya.”

Many have pointed out that this Ayodhya freebie is part of the tribal appeasement program masked as a development and welfare initiative as Gujarat Assembly elections are due in December next year. Tribals make up nearly 15 per cent of Gujarat’s population. Recently, Union home minister Amit Shah also had lunch at a tribal person’s home in Chhota Udepur.