BERHAMPUR: Hindu religious leaders, including the Shankaracharyas, should condemn and end the caste system rather than fomenting communal tension in the name of conversions, speakers at the State-level convention of the tribal organisation � Lok Sangram Manch (LSM) � have opined.
The convention was organised on Saturday to initiate a mass movement against the activities of communal forces in South Orissa, including Kandhamal district. Tribal representatives from different parts of South Orissa attended. There were discussions on ways of thwarting the ulterior motives of communal elements in a constructive manner rather than resorting to high sounding rhetoric. Central committee member of the CPI-ML (New Democracy) Y. Sambasiva Rao attended as chief guest. State spokesperson of the CPI-ML (New Democracy) Bhala Chandra Sarangi discussed about conversions, which was the �main tool� of communal elements to fan animosity. He pointed out that the downtrodden and exploited sections of the caste system were prone to conversions to get some kind of social recognition.
He challenged the religious leaders, including the Shankaracharyas, to come out and end the exploitive system and declare all to be equals if they wanted to stop religious conversions in the true sense. �It is high time the upper castes owing their allegiance to Hinduism gave dignity and equal social status to the lower castes instead of creating religious animosity in the name of religious conversions,� he said. Noted environmental activist Praful Samantra felt that all religious groups in the country were being funded by forces outside the country to weaken the people�s movement. He demanded that the government make a detailed inquiry into the international funding of all religious groups, including the Sangh Parivar, missionaries and Islamic organisations to put a check on communal elements. �Once people get united to fight for their rights and livelihood, they will forget their caste and religion for a greater class struggle,� Mr. Rao added.
The tribal delegates at the convention vowed to thwart any attempt to incite communal violence in their respective areas.