To take out ‘Chalo Delhi’ programme soon
After holding the rally in Guwahati on March 26, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)- affiliate Janajati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch (JDSSM) will take out a “Chalo Delhi” programme soon to pressurize the Central government to delist the tribal people who have undergone religious conversion in different parts of the state.
The JDSSM will also send separate memorandums to the President of India Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Assam Governor Gulab Chand Katria in the next week.
Commenting on “Chalo Dispur” programme, Assam tribal affairs minister Dr Ranoj Pegu said,” It’s a central subject. We have nothing to do with it. The Central government will take up the call.”
The “Chalo Dispur” programme, which was held at Veterinary College Field in Guwahati, was attended by more than 50,000 people coming from 30 different districts of the state wearing their traditional dresses and carrying folk musical instruments.
Tribal rituals were performed by Boro, Karbi, Tiwa, Dimasa, Rabha and Mising communities which was followed by the hoisting of the flag by JDSSM president Bogiram Boro.
More than 10 tribal folk dance troupes performed their original folk dances during the programme.
The programme was graced by national leaders like Surya Narayan Suri, Akhil Bharatiya Sangathan Mantri, JSM; Satyendra Singh, invited speaker, JSM central observer; Prakash Singh Uikeji, social worker, and executive member of JSM, MP; Ravindra Uike, social worker and executive member of JSM, MP. Community speakers Babita Brahma (Boro), Pratap Terang (Karbi), Tarun Chandra Rabha (Rabha) and Kameswar Pator (Tiwa) also delivered speeches on conversion taking in the respective tribal communities.
All the speakers unitedly voiced to delist converted ST people who completely have up their original tribal culture, customs, rituals, way of life and traditions after conversion.
They also demanded to stop “unethical conversion” among tribal communities of the state.
The rally also demanded an amendment of Article 342 of the Constitution of India for ST and equalize with Article 341 for Scheduled Caste (if any SC person is converted to any other religion, automatically the person get DE-listed from SC reservation). We are fighting to save the poor ST people from getting swallowed by very organised, communal and theocratic foreign religions. Else many ST community’s identity and traits will be extinct in no time,” said JDSSM working president and co-ordinator Binud Kumbang.
“The ST people are the easiest prey or victim of religious conversions in Assam mainly targeted by the highly communal theocratic foreign religious groups,” Kumbang said.
“Christian conversion was like slow poison killing the tribals’ original beliefs and faiths, culture, customs and rituals,” he said.
“The purpose of reservation provisions in the Indian Constitution for ST in Article 342 is to protect and preserve the tribal way of life, culture, customs, rituals etc as a whole and to uplift the listed STs’ socio-economic conditions by giving them reservations in education, jobs, elections etc. Article 371 of our Constitution prevents even the Parliament from making Acts and laws which affect the way of life and culture of certain tribal areas,” Kumbang also said.
“The fundamental purpose of the tribal reservation becomes meaningless when the tribes reject their original faiths, culture, customs etc. and converts to another religion. A basic question that rises here is, when a person changes his faith and is converted to another religion, how he could maintain the original- culture, traditions and way of life followed by the community,” he added.
Reacting to the demand of the JDSSM, All Assam Tribal Sangha (AATS) president Aditya Khakhlary said, “We do not support their demand. Their demand is unconstitutional.”
“The state government has opened a separate department for indigenous faith and culture. I think with the functioning of this department, the conversion will go down to a certain extent,” Khakhlary added.