Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren passed ‘Sarna Code’ in Jharkhand Assembly this week resolution this week in Jharkhand Assembly. The resolution for the provision of separate Sarna Code’ for tribals was passed unanimously by the assembly.
Demand for a separate ‘Sarna’ religion was growing among the population for many decades.‘Sarna’ followers are nature worshippers who do not consider themselves Hindus and have been fighting for a separate religious identity for decades.
At present, they are not classified as a separate religious entity.
On September 20, Adivasis from Jharkhand staged a massive protest, forming a huge human chain that included hundreds of people from villages, towns, blocks and panchayat wards, and many organizations and committees as well.
During the discussion in the Assembly, Soren said that there have been attempts to make tribals extinct as no government showed any seriousness on the issue. The most prominent reason for the drop in the numbers of tribal population is their mental immaturity, he said.
The CM said he wanted no politics on Sarna Code and expected all support from the Opposition parties on the issue.
“Sarna Code is important for the tribals and government is committed towards it,” said Soren. It will give a good message in the Country, he added.
The opposition leaders, on the other hand, alleged the Soren government of doing politics on the issue.
“I wanted to raise some technical issues related to the proposal, but I was not given time to speak in the House,” said BJP legislative party leader Babulal Marandi.
Why the need for a separate religion code?
According to the Constitution of India and government reports, Adivasis have cultures and traditions different from other religions. According to the Census report of 2011-12, the number of Adivasis is nearly 12 crore, which makes up about 9.92 of the country’s population. It is worrisome that in spite of this, they are not counted as a separate religion in the census. In Jharkhand, Adivasis make up nearly 90 lakh people out of the total population of 3.5 crores.
Under British rule, there was a separate ‘Tribal Religion’ code that Adivasis could write themselves under. This was included in the 1951-52 census after independence but was abolished in the 1961-62 census. The demand for a separate religion code has been gaining momentum again.
Tribal leaders across the state had been demanding the implementation of the Sarna Code in census surveys, which would allow the tribals to be identified as followers of the Sarna faith during the census of 2021 which is round the corners, tribal outfits were exerting pressure on the government to bring the legislation. So far, the census surveys have included them as “others” in the religion column.
The RSS is on a mission to ensure that Adivasis put down their religion as ‘Hindu’ in the upcoming census so that the population numbers of Hindus increases. While the truth is that the Corporate-funded RSS-BJP government has its eyes on Adivasi’s land, water, and forest resources. They are attempting to reduce the population of Adivasis by listing them as Hindus so that their community becomes so weak that when the corporates attack their land, water, and forest resources, they are not even able to resist.