In a controversial move, Janajati Suraksha Manch (JSM) is set to organize an anti-conversion rally in Agartala on December 26, demanding the denial of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to tribals who convert to Christianity. Backed by RSS, the rally, initially planned for Christmas Day, was postponed at the request of Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha.
Rally Objectives and Opposition
Milan Rani Jamatia from JSM clarified that the rally aims to address concerns about individuals receiving dual benefits post-conversion. They call for delisting tribals who embrace Christianity.United Christian Forum for Human Rights (UCFHR) perceives this as a divisive move, alleging a “conspiracy” and communal tension instigation.
UCFHR dismisses the demand as unconstitutional and provocative, emphasizing India’s secular fabric. The forum sees the rally as an attempt to sow discord among Tripura’s tribals. Contrary to JSM’s claims, UCFHR contends that Christianity has positively impacted tribal traditions, language, and culture, enhancing socio-economic conditions.
UCFHR highlights Christian leaders’ contributions in education, healthcare, and employment, fostering growth in remote villages. The forum disputes JSM’s assertion that Christian tribals enjoy dual benefits, asserting that minorities in Tripura face deprivation. They argue that Christianity has promoted unity, education, and societal harmony.
Tribal Demographics in Tripura
Tripura officially recognizes Buddhists, Christians (excluding ST Christians), Muslims, and Sikhs as religious communities. The 2011 census reports Christians comprising 4.35% of Tripura’s population, predominantly among indigenous communities like Tripuri, Lushai, Kuki, Darlong, and Halam.
UCFHR’s Final Message
UCFHR challenges JSM’s narrative, emphasizing the positive impact of Christianity on tribal communities. The forum advocates for unity, equality, and communal harmony, dismissing the rally as a divisive and baseless initiative.