Jharkhand agriculture minister, Randhir Kumar Singh registered his strong objection to economist Jean Dreze’s argument that communalism was at its most dangerous when the state itself created antagonism between communities and even demanded an apology from organisers of the event. During a programme organised by a Hindi daily – Prabhat Khabar – in Ranchi, titled Jharkhand Conclave-2025 that was held on Sunday, Dreze was called upon to give a speech. However, Singh angrily objected to the subject being talked about and the economist was not allowed to complete his speech. The program was also attended by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh among other ministers.
Randhir Kumar Singh when contacted for his version said he had only objected when Dreze began talking about the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor. Singh added he told Dreze that he doesn’t know about RSS. “I only objected when he began talking about RSS. I told him that he doesn’t know about RSS,” he said. On the other hand, Dreze said, “I was interrupted when I argued that communalism was most dangerous when the state itself created antagonism between communities. I gave the infamous (government) ad quoting Gandhi (which had appeared on August 11) as an example.” He further added saying, “nobody insisted on my being allowed to complete my speech, so I just sat down.”
The advertisement that was brought out by the government a day ahead of the tabling, and passing, of the anti-conversion bill in the Assembly had quoted Mahatma Gandhi asking Christian missionaries not to go for religious conversion of poor and gullible tribals.
As mentioned by The Indian Express, a video showed that Radha Mohan repeatedly asked Singh to calm down on the mike and assuring that he would clarify to Dreze on what the Mahatma said on conversion. Even as Singh continued to seek an apology, Radha Mohan virtually had to admonish him to calm down.