The demand for exclusion of tribals having been converted to other religions from the Scheduled Tribe list seems mounting in the State as organisations working for welfare of Adivasis have urged the Centre to amend the concerned law at the earliest.
The Janajati Suraksha Manch sent a memorandum in this regard to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the Sub-Collector, Brahmapur on Saturday. Earlier, Manch members led by Ganjam district coordinator Bhimasena Bhoi had staged a demonstration at the Sub-Collector’s office.
In the memorandum, they mentioned that tribals who have proselytised to other faiths like Christianity and Islam and are not practising Adivasi culture have been sharing benefits available to Scheduled Tribe for the last 73 years since Independence.“50 years back in 1970, noted tribal leader and former Union Minister Kartika Oram had submitted a memorandum to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, demanding exclusion of such converted people.
The memorandum had been prepared as per provisions in the SC and ST Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976. It was proposed that those people who have quit the beliefs of the Adivasi and accepted Christianity and Muslim would now be accepted as members of ST community,” read the memorandum.
It also mentioned that the Manch had undertaken a signature drive seeking people’s opinion in this regard in 2015 and sent a memorandum with signatures of 27.67 tribal people to the then President Pratibha Patil. However, the plights of tribals have remained unheard of till today.
The Manch urged the Prime Minister to amend laws and exclude those who have converted to other religions.
A similar memorandum was also submitted to Keonjhar Sub-Collector following a demonstration held by over a hundred of tribals.
They alleged that some people claiming to be Christian have been instigating poor Hindu people to convert to Christianity. The religious conversion is going on rampantly in villages under Anandpur, Saharapada, Telkoi, Banshapal and Sadar blocks. Even a church has been constructed on a 9 acre of Government land at Gopinathpur under Dalapaka gram panchayat. Keonjhar Sadar MLA Mohan Charan Majhi, former MP Anant Nayak and Keonjhar district BJP president Anshuman Mahantburma had met district Collector Ashish Tahaker recently. The district Collector assured that he would take appropriate action soon.