In a bizarre development, the Issai Adivasi Mahasabha, a Christian body active mainly in Chhattisgarh, has written a letter demanding a ban on the proposed de-listing (A nationwide exercise to identify those tribals/ Janjati/Vanvasi who have converted to any other religion except those originated in Bharat) rally called by the Janjati Suraksha Manch (JSM) in Jharkhand’s capital, Ranchi, on December 24.
In the letter written to the deputy commissioner, Ranchi, the Christian body claims that the preparation for Christmas began almost a month ago and special prayers are held on the evening of December 24, thus the proposed delisting rally should not be allowed.
Christmas, which is celebrated on December 25 is the biggest festival for Christians, and the followers of the Christian sect usually start preparing for the feast around one month in advance. The followers also organise special prayer sessions in churches on the eve of December 24, according to the letter submitted to the deputy commissioner.
The letter further read that Article 25 of the Indian Constitution provides freedom of conscience along with the right to fully profess, practise, and propagate one’s religion, and the demand of delisting raised by the Janjati Suraksha Manch is opposite to the very intent of this fundamental right.
The proposed delisting rally called by Janjati Suraksha Manch on December 24 is inspired by its ill intention. The rally called by the JSM will not only disrupt the celebration of Christmas in Jharkhand and neighbouring states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and West Bengal, but it could also lead to an end of companionship, a tense atmosphere, and a law and order situation. Thus, permission of delisting should not be given during the Christmas season; read the letter in the end.
Janjati Suraksha Manch hits back
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, the Janjati Suraksha Manch criticised the letter written by the Christian body. Speaking with the Organiser, the national media convener of the JSM, Sharad Chauhan asserted that the rally called in Ranchi is nothing to do with those who have already quit the Sanatan Dharma and embraced Christianity or any other religion other than those originated in Bharat. The rally is calling for the rights of our Janjati brothers, who have every right to voice their concerns.
We have been organising such rallies for the last two years; a total of 231 such rallies have been organised across Bharat, out of which as many as 16 rallies have been held in Jharkhand itself. Therefore, it has nothing to do with any festival; it’s just another rally in support of the nationwide delisting exercise, added Chauhan further.
Our demand is clear those who have converted to other religions and are celebrating Christmas should not avail the benefits of reservation reserved exclusively to the Janjatis said Chauhan while adding that those who have left the Sanatan fold need not to attend the rally.
Demand of delisting
It is pertinent to mention here that the Janjati community across different states of Bharat has been hitting the streets in support of a nationwide delisting exercise to identify those among the community who have changed their religion but still own a scheduled tribe certificate and avail themselves of the benefits of the reservation.
It is to be noted that the demand for delisting is one of the long-pending issues pertaining to the tribal community, many of whose leaders have been seen raising it vocally. This includes greats like Baba Kartik Oraon who also supported the cause for a nationwide identification process to safeguard the rights exclusively given to the tribal community.