Guwahati: Ahead of the assembly elections in Christian-majority Meghalaya and Nagaland, an RSS-backed organisation called Janajati Dharma-Sanskriti Suraksha Manch (JDSSM) has decided to intensify its agitation demanding to delist tribals who have undergone a religious conversion from the Schedule Tribe (ST) status that entitles them for reservation in jobs.
Over 1 lakh members of the JDSSM will be staging a demonstration at Janata Bhawan on February 12 under its “Challo Dispur” programme, demanding both the Union and the state governments to amend Article 342A of the constitution of India.
The organisation will also submit separate memorandums to President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in support of its demand.
The organisation is pushing a demand that was first raised by Congress MP Karthik Oraon in the sixties, who had flagged the issue claiming that ST converts were getting a major chunk of reservation benefits. In 1968, a joint parliamentary committee was formed to examine the issue.
“The people who have adopted foreign religions like Christianity and Islam are getting double benefits. They put their children in Christian schools taking benefits as a minority but take up scholarships, jobs, promotion meant for STs,” said Binud Kumbang, co-convenor, JDSSM, Assam Pranta.
“In addition to this, they also take part in democratic exercises by contesting elections to be ministers, MPs, MLAs, and members of autonomous bodies. They are taking away the rights of tribals who are working hard to keep their tradition alive,” Kumbang said.
He said the organisation has already held various rallies in tribal-dominated districts and reached out to a cross-section of tribal leaders, including ministers, MPs, MLAs and CEMs of Autonomous Councils to garner support.
Meghalaya and Nagaland are two Christian majorities that will go for assembly elections on February 27.
In March, the organisation is also planning to storm the Parliament in New Delhi in support of its demand.