Jul 21, 2009

Tribals Demand for Adivasi Religion Code in Census

Ranchi, July 17:

Tribals, who have so far been counted as Hindus in the census, have united to press the Centre for an Adivasi Religion Code.

They have threatened non co-operation with census survey, conducted by the Centre after every two years, if their demand is not met.

Under the leadership of tribal ideologue and former vice-chancellor of Ranchi University Ram Dayal Munda, tribal organisations of the state had held several meetings with their counterparts in the northeast to come to a consensus that could describe their religious practice. They have decided to name their religion Adivasi Dharam.

They have decided to stage a demonstration in front of Raj Bhavan on July 21 and a similar dharna near Parliament in New Delhi on July 29.

“Not only the tribals of the state but across the country have joined hands demanding a separate column for us in the census. When Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs, whose individual population in the country is not more than 2.5 crore, have different columns in the census then tribals with over 10 crore population deserve a separate identity,” said Deo Kumar Dhan, the co-ordinator of Jharkhand Paharaja Mahasamiti. Hitherto, the tribals have been counted under the Hindu column.

“We have been asking for it for the past three years,” said Shiva Kachchap, the vice president of Ranchi Mahanagar Prarthana Sabha.

He said the tribals could not be counted in the Census as Hindus as had been done by the government in last decades because they follow a different religion from the Hindus.

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