Ten Adivasi organisations met here on Monday and submitted a memorandum to the state government demanding that it ask the Centre to recognise “Sarna” as an Adivasi religion and include a separate religious code for it in the 2021 census. The demand was unanimously backed by the Santhal, Munda, Oraon, Ho, Bhumu, Bedia, Savar, Kharia, and Mahali communities.
Last month, the Jharkhand government convened a special Assembly session and passed a resolution to send the Centre a letter recommending it to recognise the Sarna religion and include a separate code for it in the next census.
International Santhal council president Naresh Kumar Murmu said, “We met minister Purnendu Basu and submitted a memorandum to him and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. We want the government of West Bengal to take a similar step like the one taken by the Jharkhand government.”
Murmu said a “Sarna Dharma Mahasammelan” would be held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here on January 3 on the birth anniversary of Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Munda, an Adivasi leader who was a member of the Constituent Assembly.
Murmu added, “The population of the followers of Sarna is more than the Jain religion and ‘Hital’ is our religious text, which was written by our spiritual guru and inventor of Ol Chiki script Guru Gomke Pandit Raghunath Murmu. Adivasis have no caste system, do not believe in idol worship. Adivasis believe in nature worship.”