Thousands of people from the Janjati (Tribal) community took to the streets across separate districts of Jharkhand in support of a nationwide delisting exercise across Bharat on Wednesday, January 31.
The community members also submitted memorandaum to the district administration, demanding that the State government act on the issue of delisting. In the memorandum addressed to the former Chief Minister Hemant Soren, the community members have asked the State government to pass a similar resolution alike the Sarna religion code and submit it to the Union Government.
The rally was organised under the banner of Jnajati Suraksha Manch, a tribal body associated mainly with a demand of a nationwide delisting across Bharat and illegal conversion of the tribals.
According to the information received, the rallies were organised at as many as 24 districts of the State including Gumla, Hazaribagh, Simdega, Bokaro, Chatra, and Latehar, where thousands of people from the community were seen voicing their concern over the government’s ignorance to delisting.
The rallies proposed at Lohardaga and the State’s capital, Ranchi, were called off due to administrative issues, which will be organised on February 9, according to Sharad Chauhan, the national media convenor of the Janjati Suraksha Manch.
It is worth mentioning here that earlier people of the Janjati community had also gathered in large numbers in the Ulgulan de-Listing maha rally (grand gathering), organised by the Janjati Suraksha Manch at Morhabadi Ground of Ranchi on December 24, last year. The rally witnessed an impressive turnout of the Janjati community despite stringent opposition from various organisations who had earlier opposed the gathering, citing a possible law and order issue on Christmas eve.
Meanwhile, sharing the details of the protest rallies, Soma Oraon, media in-charge of the JSM informed, that in the memorandum submitted, we have asked the State government to pass a similar resolution to the Sarna Code to deprive the benefits of reservation to those Janjati members who have embraced Christianity or any other religion by leaving the age-old traditions and worshipping methods of the Janjati community.
जनजातियों की मांग, सरकार विशेष सत्र बुलाकर जल्द से जल्द डी-लिस्टिंग बिल पास#DILISTING pic.twitter.com/2Auo0lE9Qs
— Janjati Suraksha Manch (@JSManch) February 3, 2024
Notably, the Jharkhand government in the year 2020 passed a resolution in the State assembly for a separate Sarna religion code in the next census and submitted it to the Union Government via Governor. Later on, CM Soren also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Modi and asked him to include the Sarna code in the next census in September last year.
What is Sarna code?
It is to be noted that a section of people from the Janjati community residing mainly in Jharkhand and the adjoining region have been demanding a separate Sarna code in the religion column of the census over the years.
The people echoing the demand for a separate Sarna code claim that the worship methods of the community differ from the traditional idol worshipping practices prevalent among the Sanatan fold; hence, the community should be provided with a separate religion code.
Though the demand for a separate Sarna code has been so far confronted and opposed by a significant section of the Janjati community itself, who have time and again asserted that the community is an unalienable part of the Sanatan fold and no such separate code should be accommodated in the census.
Demand for delisting
It is pertinent to mention here that, of late, the Janjati community across different states of Bharat has been raising their voice against the misuse of the reservation reserved exclusively for the community across Bharat. The community has been seen hitting the streets across states seeking a nationwide delisting exercise to identify those among the community who have changed their religion but still own a scheduled tribe or caste certificate and are availing benefits of the reservation.
More than 250 such rallies have already been organised across the nation under the banner of Janjati Suraksha Manch alone within a span of only two years. In the rallies organised across states, hundreds of thousands of people from the community were seen marching with placards and banners, raising their concern over the growing cases of conversion and inappropriate benefits being availed of by the converted.
Addressing one such gathering of community members in December last year, the national convenor of the Janjati Suraksha Manch and former minister Ganesh Ram Bhagat asserted that the framers of the constitution had envisaged provisions for reservation and other developmental facilities for over 700 tribes in the country. However, the benefits of these provisions predominantly accrue to those who have forsaken their traditional practices and converted to other religions, thereby depriving the original Janjati community for intended benefits.