Adivasis not willing to sacrifice their right to practise religion - which propagates hunting animals.
Jamshedpur, Dec. 19: The tribals not willing to sacrifice their right to practise religion — which propagates hunting animals.
With the forest department's barring them from hunting in the Dalma region for the Sendra festival, the The Jharkhand Raksha Sangh felt it was time to raise their voice. They led a Adivasi Moolvasi Sendra Sanskritik Maharally in the city today.
The members of the organisation said they would approach the Supreme Court next year, demanding the right to celebrate Sendra, a tribal festival that involves hunting of animals. Tribals from the Singhbhum-Kolhan region under the banner of Jharkhand Raksha Sangh participated in the rally. The rally began from Football Grounds in Adityapur and passed through Adityapur Main Road, Bistupur and Sakchi before meeting at the East Singhbhum deputy commissioner's office.
Jharkhand Raksha Sangh leaders also submitted a memorandum for the President of India at the deputy commissioner's office.
According to religious belief, Sendra is celebrated in April-May after performing Sarna Puja (also known as Baha or Sarhul) where jaher or sal trees are worshipped.
The president of Jharkhand Raksha Sangh, Chote Lal Hembrom, said the organisation would take a legal course and lodge a case at the Supreme Court within a few months if the district administration fails to grant them the right of practising their age-old tradition.
According to the Article 25(1) under the fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution every person shall have the freedom of conscience and right to profess, practise and propagate religion. However, there are some restrictions to it, such as social welfare, public order, morality and health and other provisions of the constitution, among others.
Hembrom claimed that they have not violated the Constitution.
Leaders of the Jharkhand Raksha Sangh clarified that Sendra has been misunderstood as a "hunting ritual". According to them, Sendra is a religious function of the tribal community that is associated with nature. The week-long festival starts with worshipping of deities, ancestors, traditional weapons and culminate with Sendra (hunting) that bring to the fore the "manhood of the male members of the community".
"Due to various hurdles as posed by the forest department, we have failed to carry on with our age-old tradition on Dalma hills," said Demka Soy, a tribal leader.
Jharkhand Raksha Sangh members also said each year the forest department forces Section 144 on Dalma forest and prohibits the tribals from entering the forest.
"The department had also arrested our people who were found hunting and punished them for entering the forest. We are not going to tolerate this and the moves of the forest department any more," said Rakesh Hembrom, the chief of Dalma Buru Sendra Samiti.
The Jharkhand Raksha Sangh also demanded a tribal state for themselves like Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
"Even eight years after Jharkhand's inception, we are fighting for our rights. This proves that the state needs to make special provisions for us. If we cannot perform the rituals here, give us a separate state," said Sangram Mardi, the general secretary of Jharkhand Raksha Sangh.
The organisation members also demanded a tripartite meeting between the administration, forest officials and Jharkhand Raksha Sangh to solve the existing deadlock over practising Sendra.
Members maintained that Jharkhand is a state for the people, who observe and practice Sarna and should be heard.