Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Tripura NGOs Oppose JSM Rally Targeting ST Status of Tribal Christians

A body of NGOs said that converting to another faith does not automatically nullify an individual's ST status.
A body of NGOs said that converting to another faith does not automatically nullify an individual's ST status.

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PxHere

Delhi: A coalition representing several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working for tribal welfare in Tripura has strongly condemned the proposed rally by Janajati Suraksha Mancha (JSM) on Christmas. The rally aims to revoke the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status of tribal individuals who have converted to Christianity. 

The Joint Action Committee of Civil Societies (JACCS), an assembly comprising several groups, staunchly opposed the JSM rally scheduled for December 25, coinciding with Christmas, asserting that the rally's agenda directly contradicts the state's secular principles, the EastMojo reported.

In a press release issued by JACCS, the committee clarified its non-partisan and secular stance. The committee, established in 2011, collaborates with NGOs and student organisations to advocate for the welfare of indigenous populations.

The coalition comprises prominent bodies such as the Twipra Students Federation (TSF), United Tiprasa Forum (UTF), Tripuri Doctors Welfare Society (TDWS), Tipra Engineers’ Society, Tripura (TEST), Tripura Indigenous Lawyers Association (TILA), Borok People Human Rights Organisation (BPHRO), and Pantwi Sporting Society (PSS).

Earlier, the Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch had condemned JSM's campaigns to delist the Christian tribals and the December 25 rally.

“The indigenous people of Tripura have believed in Hinduism, Christianity and Animism for a long time but still live peacefully together without any clash among them on the religious ground. This is the first time in our state any organisation has raised such sensitive religious demand and sought the delisting of converted indigenous people. This is nothing but one kind of serious propaganda to divide the indigenous people of Tripura on religious lines,” the JACCS press statement said

JACCS stressed India's secular and democratic values, advocating citizens' freedom to choose their beliefs. They emphasised that converting to another faith does not automatically nullify an individual's ST status. The criteria for defining a community as a Scheduled Tribe, they argued, are not tied to any specific religion.

Citing Article 342 of the Indian Constitution, the committee argued that tribal status is granted based on factors such as historical backwardness, geographical isolation, and educational and economic conditions.

"Article 342(1) mandates the specification of tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribes within a particular State or Union Territory. The list of Scheduled Tribes is specific to each State/UT, and a community identified as a Scheduled Tribe in one State may not hold the same status in another. Presidential notifications under Clause 1 of Article 342, known as Constitution Orders, were issued initially for distinct categories of States at the time of India's adoption of the Constitution," the press statement added.

JACCS also rebutted claims that converted Christians are receiving dual benefits from the state government, refuting these assertions as misinformation.

“ST Christians of Tripura are not provided dual facilities as Religious Minority Community & Scheduled Tribe because the ST Christians are excluded from Religious Minority Community vide Notification No-996-1120/ F.10-5/SCW/GL/RM/03 Dated, 18-04-2007 of the Commissioner & Secretary to the Govt. of Tripura. And, most importantly, there is no loss of traditional culture for following a particular religion," concluded the press release, as reported by the EastMojo.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram