Tribal bodies hold mega rally for 'Sarna' code in Jharkhand

Religious leader Bandhan Tigga said tribal people may not participate in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls if the Centre does not include the 'Sarna' code in the upcoming census

March 12, 2023 06:48 pm | Updated 06:48 pm IST - Ranchi

Tribals wearing traditional attire take part in a Maharally demanding a separate ‘Sarna Dharm Code’ for tribals at Morhabadi grounds in Ranchi on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

Tribals wearing traditional attire take part in a Maharally demanding a separate ‘Sarna Dharm Code’ for tribals at Morhabadi grounds in Ranchi on Sunday, March 12, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Thousands of tribals from Jharkhand and other parts of the country held a mega rally here on March 12 to press for their demand to include 'Sarna' as a separate religion for indigenous people in the next census.

Donning their traditional attire, men and women, belonging to various tribal communities, held placards and banners and raised slogans for implementation of the 'Sarna' code, threatening to boycott the 2024 Lok Sabha polls if the demand was not met before the general elections.

A separate 'Sarna' code in the census is the key to a distinct identity for tribals as without it, they are classified as Hindus or Muslims or Christians.

‘Sarna’ followers are nature worshippers and they have been fighting for a separate religious identity for decades.

Under the banner of Rashtriya Adivasi Samaj Sarna Dharm Raksha Abhiyan (RASSDRA), members of several tribal bodies from 17 districts of Jharkhand and representatives of many such organisations from Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Assam took part in the 'Maharally'.

'Sarna' dharma religious leader Bandhan Tigga, who led the rally, said the tribal organisations chose Jharkhand for the programme as the State is the "epicentre of this tribal movement" in the country.

"Earlier, we had staged a rally in Delhi but the Centre did not pay heed to our demand," he claimed.

Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of the rally, Mr. Tigga said they would organise another mega rally in Delhi before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Tribals wearing traditional attire play the traditional drum ‘Nagada’ during a Maharally on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

Tribals wearing traditional attire play the traditional drum ‘Nagada’ during a Maharally on Sunday, March 12, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

"If the Centre does not include the 'Sarna' code in the upcoming census, tribals of the country may not participate in the election process," he said.

More than 100 tribal people from neighbouring Nepal also participated in the rally here to extend their support to the Rashtirya Adivasi Samaj Sarna Dharm Raksha Abhiyan's demand, one of the organisers claimed.

Ram Kishun Oraon, central president of Raji Pahda Sarna Prarthi Sabha (Nepal), claimed that they have "come here to support the demand of their tribal brethren in India".

"We urge the Indian government to fulfil the long-pending demand of tribals," he said.

The Jharkhand Assembly on November 11, 2020, passed a resolution for the provision of a separate ‘Sarna’ code for tribals.

Mr. Tigga said, “A similar resolution was passed in the West Bengal Assembly on February 17, 2023, and sent for the Centre’s approval. Odisha and Chhattisgarh are also preparing to send similar proposals to the Centre soon.”

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.