A deceased member of a tribal family that recently converted to Christianity in the Tonta Police station area of West Singhbhum district in Jharkhand was not allowed burial rights in the ancient village cemetery. Reportedly, after the death of the converted Christian man — the family, also converted, wanted to bury their kin in the cemetery of the ‘Ho’ tribe. However, the tribe members objected to the demands of the Christian family which was later forced to bury the body in the courtyard of their house.
According to reports, 25-year-old Amrit Lal Boypai died last week on Saturday due to a disease. Afterwards, the Christian family started shovelling in Sasan Diri (cemetery) to bury the dead body according to the customs of their descendants. However, few of the members of the tribe objected and started protesting against the digging of the ground.
Changed religion, cannot allow burial: Yuva Mahasabha
The said villagers instantly informed elders of the Yuva Mahasabha who summoned both parties and agreed to hold a meeting to reach a solution. However, after the meeting, it was decided that the body was not to be buried at the traditional Sasan Diri site of the ‘Ho community’ as the family had changed their religion.
However, the matter didn’t simmer down as the converted family continued protesting. After police intervened, the family members reluctantly decided to bury the body in the courtyard of the house and the matter was brought to a close after 40 excruciating hours. Even then, the family members were not in favour of burying the dead body in their home but the pressure from the Police forced them to do so.
11 families converted to Christianity in the village
It is pertinent to note that over 11 families have already converted to Christianity in the Durula village. Several rounds of panchayat meetings have taken place on the menace of increasing religious interference and rapid conversions of the gullible, poor tribal communities and families. The social boycott of the converted family was done so because of the conversion angle.
The Police issued a stern warning that if any religious preacher tried setting foot in the place to convert the tribal families or distort the peace of the village, tough actions would be taken.
An entire tribal village standing up against the converted family suggests that tribal communities are waking up to the threat of conversion.
Increased conversion in Soren’s Jharkhand
As reported by TFI, ever since CM Hemant Soren came to power in Jharkhand with the help of RJD and Congress, he has consistently tried to create a divide among tribals and Hindus of the state. He has often demanded a separate religious code for tribals of Jharkhand even though the communities have followed Hinduism since the dawn of time.
Hinduism and the practice of tribals are so inseparable that despite more than 200 years of attempts by missionaries and active support from politicians like Soren and Jaganmohan Reddy, a majority of the people of the community still identify themselves as Hindus.
With political backing from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the forceful conversion activity has grown exponentially in the state in the last few decades. According to government data, the period of 2001-2011 witnessed a tremendous increase in the population graph of the state, but the most notable thing is that the population of Christians grew by a whopping 29.7%. The population of Muslims in the state grew by a massive 28.4% and the population of Hindus just by 21 per cent.
The Raghubar Das government tried to slow down the conversion activity in Jharkhand with the introduction of an anti-conversion bill, but with Soren in power, it is picking up once again.