Tripura tribal body plans rally on Christmas seeking ST status removal of Christian tribes
On Good Friday, Christian participating in outdoor activities, carrying crosses and singing.

Agartala (Agency): Tensions have risen in Tripura as the tribal rights body, Janajati Suraksha Mancha, which is accused by the Congress and the CPM of having RSS support, declared its intention to organize a rally on December 25 to demand the removal of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for tribals who have converted to Christianity.

Milan Rani Jamatia, a member of the Mancha, clarified that the issue was not against any particular community or religion but aimed at addressing what they perceive as dual benefits received by those who converted to Christianity.

The demand for delisting converted tribals was initially raised in 1966-67, and a demand list with Joint Parliamentary Committee recommendations was submitted to the prime minister in 1970.

Binud Kumbang, a senior member of the Mancha, speaking of the plans for the massive rally called “Chalo Delhi,” said that at least five lakh people are expected to participate and submit a memorandum to the President of India.

The controversy centres around the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, where nearly 30 per cent of the state’s population resides.

Mancha convener Santi Bikash Chakma argued that the preservation of indigenous cultures and traditions was compromised by converted tribals, justifying their removal from the ST list.

Opposition parties, including the CPM, Congress, People’s Congress, and TIPRA Motha, have accused the Mancha of a “conspiracy” and attempting to incite communal tension.

Former minister Naresh Jamatia warned of consequences if tribal identity is de-recognized due to conversion to Christianity, emphasizing potential reductions in tribal population and reservation benefits.

Congress leader Sudip Roy Barman criticized the demand as unconstitutional, provocative, and illegal, alleging divisive politics.

However, the ruling BJP and its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, have remained silent on the issue.

TIPRA Motha, the primary opposition party, condemned efforts to divide people along communal lines.

In a social media message, Pradyot Kishore expressed concerns about using religion to create divisions among the tribals, emphasizing the need for unity.

The Tripura Peoples Party denounced the Mancha’s protest call, describing it as a “design and conspiracy” orchestrated by fundamentalist Hindutva forces. (Courtesy: Northeast Now)