The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) in Tripura voiced its disapproval on Tuesday over the state government’s decision to permit a tribal group to organize a rally on Christmas day against converted tribals. The tribal body in question, Janajati Suraksha Mancha (JSM), has been advocating for the de-listing of tribals who have embraced Christianity from the Scheduled Tribe status.
Addressing the media, Jitendra Chaudhury, the state secretary of CPM, condemned the demand put forth by JSM, labeling it as “unconstitutional.” He expressed apprehension regarding the group’s call for an agitation seeking the removal of Scheduled Tribe status from those tribals who converted to Christianity from Hinduism. Chaudhury emphasized that the Constitution and laws of the country do not endorse the classification of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes based on religion, and every Indian citizen has the right to choose their religion according to the secular constitution.
Highlighting the irony of JSM’s move, Chaudhury pointed out that December 25, the day chosen for the rally, is globally celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ, transcending caste and religion. He deemed JSM’s decision to stage the rally on this particular day as highly provocative.
Chaudhury further alleged that JSM is an organization influenced by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), with several BJP leaders holding key positions within it. He questioned whether the RSS is determined to strip converted tribals of their rights to water, land, and forests.
Accusing the BJP and the state government of targeting Christianity under the guise of JSM, Chaudhury argued that such actions infringe upon the personal liberty of citizens. In response, Shanti Bikash Chakma, the coordinator of JSM, refuted the allegations, asserting that tribals in various states, including Tripura, have been receiving reservations in jobs, education, and other benefits.