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Debate among tribals of Jharkhand on name of code

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The tribals of Jharkhand appear to be divided on the name of their religious code even as a special session of the state Assembly on Wednesday is set to a pass a resolution for the code’s inclusion in the census form.

While the tribals of the state have been demanding for a separate Sarna code for a long time, some of their organisations and leaders have also started asking for an Adivasi code instead of a Sarna code.

Prem Sahi Munda, president of Adivasi Jan Parishad, was the first to make such a demand saying Sarna is the religious place of the Oraons while other tribes have different names for their religious places like the Santhals have their Jaherthan.

As such, an Adivasi code would be appropriate for all the tribals, he argued.

Congress MLA Bandhu Tirkey, however, did not agree. 

“Adivasi denotes the tribal community as a whole where as Sarna is identified with their religion,” Tirkey said, emphasising it should be a Sarna code and not an Advasi code as it involves the religious code.

But Geetashri Oraon, former minister and president of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad, favoured the name of the code should be Adivasi code.

There are around 780 distinct tribal communities in the country and many of them have nothing to do with Sarna, she said, adding the term Adivasi would be acceptable to all the tribal communities.

The National Coordination Committee for Tribal Religion, that had its national convention in Ranchi on Sunday, however, appealed to the tribals to be united for pressing for a separate religious code.

Adivasi denotes the tribal community as a whole where as Sarna is identified with their religion,” Tirkey said, emphasising it should be a Sarna code and not an Advasi code as it involves the religious code.

But Geetashri Oraon, former minister and president of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad, favoured the name of the code should be Adivasi code.

There are around 780 distinct tribal communities in the country and many of them have nothing to do with Sarna, she said, adding the term Adivasi would be acceptable to all the tribal communities.

The National Coordination Committee for Tribal Religion, that had its national convention in Ranchi on Sunday, however, appealed to the tribals to be united for pressing for a separate religious code.

One of the resolutions taken at its convention, the committee, however, said about asking an Adivasi religion code, not a Sarna code.

Pointing out that the tribals have been demanding a separate religion code for them in the census form for a long time, the committee decided to hold a meeting in

Delhi next month and also to hold demonstration in other state governments for creating pressure of those states to pass a resolution similar to that of Jharkhand for asking a separate religious code for the tribals.

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