Priya Munda, an activist, working for the upliftment of tribals in Jharkhand, says that tribals are facing threat from the conversion mafia in remote areas of the state. The innocent people are being kept in dark before converting to the different faith.
While we are worshiping nature and part of ‘Sanatan Dharma’ since beginning, however, the conversion mafias mislead them (Adivasi) and converting towards Christianity here. The latest revelation of forceful conversion to Islam in many states of the country, posing a great danger to the entire country, she adds. It is not only menace for us, but also for the national security.
The Freedom of Religion Act passed by Jharkhand assembly in August this year has no controversial clauses. However, she alleges that current government is not implementing this law effectively in the state which is leading to have the mass illegal conversions in the state. “We cannot be bystander only, if our voices are not heard will pose for other ways under the ambit of the constitutional framework of the country”, Munda emphasises.
In an interview with ‘The Garhwa Post’, Mrs. Munda contends that Sarna tribals are not Christians. The very fact that they worship nature makes them part of the Sanatan Dharma family: he says. Excerpts:
How do you see the illegal conversion as threat for Tribal people?
Indeed, I see this is one of the biggest challenges in our time where innocent (Adivasis) are being forcefully converted to Christianity faith. One’s should have better understanding about the faith in which she/he goes to; however, this doesn’t seem to be happening in Jharkhand atleast. If this activity is continue to run like this sooner, the rest of the community would get the same fate which has already happened in eight states of the country soon.
What’s your take on the Freedom of Religion Act 2017 ?
It was a good move by the BJP government, but the current regime has made it totally dysfunctional which is why the conversion mafias are growing by leaps and bound in the state and nobody cares for them, even the administration is unable to curtail them, as they have become so powerful right now. As far as the law, enacted in 2017 is concerned, there is nothing new about it.
Several states are already having it and now Jharkhand has its own. It’s a fair bill and I don’t know why such a big issue is being made out of it. It doesn’t attack any religious belief or faith but only makes forcible conversion a punishable offence. Is there anything wrong in it? The law even doesn’t restrict the freedom of people from practising the religion of their choice.
Christianity alleges that you are trying to take tribal into the Hindu fold
Its incorrect to say like this, Sarnas (Adivasis) worship nature, the land, the earth. They are very much part of the larger Hindu religion. We are part of ‘Sanatan Dharma’ not any other religions imposed by these people. We (Adivasis) proud Sanatanis and will be till end. I will continue to raise these issues every forum, stage.
Traditionally, tribals never used to send kids to schools run by Christians. There has been a conspiracy to end all tribal schools so that the so-called minority institutions run by Christian missionaries could get government grants and enrol tribals in the name of providing education.
How are you planning to return those already gone other faith to Hinduism?
You see! People are coming back to their home. They have understood the truth of the faith to which they had gone into. Now, I am getting lots of calls from converted tribals, asking my support to re-root into ‘Sanatan Dharma’ and work is being done to bring them back.
It’s their inner call to embrace the religion they belonged to originally. We stand for empowering the tribals and the Freedom of Religion Act is a move in the right direction.
Is Union government’s tribal affairs ministry doing something for it ?
Unfortunately, I have not seen any progress on this – government needs to think over this issue seriously else will be too late. I am requesting the central government to act as fast as possible for tribals welfare in the state. Lets leave for the rest on them (Government) only.