The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

India

Tribal Christians oppose new quota policy in Jharkhand

Tribal people will now have to share their quota of government jobs and educational seats with non-tribal people

ucanews.com reporter, New Delhi

ucanews.com reporter, New Delhi

Updated: May 12, 2016 03:42 AM GMT
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Tribal Christians oppose new quota policy in Jharkhand

Indigenous people from Jharkhand celebrating Karma, their harvest festival in New Delhi in this 2013 file photo.  (Photo by Bijay Kumar Minj)

Share this article :
Tribal people, including church leaders, are against a new government policy in eastern Indian Jharkhand state that will help "outsiders" settled in the tribal-dominated area over its original inhabitants.

The state cabinet April 7 approved the "domicile policy" that has been in preparation since Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar state in 2000 purportedly to help the development of tribal people in the region.

The new policy enables anyone living in the state for the past 30 years or more to enjoy state social benefits.

The church is opposed to the "policy as it will help outsiders more than the locals" said Bishop Paul Alois Lakra of Gumla. 

Critics of the policy say that since Indian independence in 1947, when mining and industries began to develop the area, hundreds of outsiders started migrating to their area.

"They are not tribal people. But with this new policy, tribal people have to share their quota of government jobs and educational seats with nontribal people," said the bishop who belongs to the Oraon tribe.

A policy to determine who benefits from state jobs and educational facilities was a long-standing demand of the tribal people, rooted in a cry for a separate state.

The policy became a sensitive issue in the state because of the tribal people lack of trust for nontribal people, whom they disparagingly call outsiders.

Church officials in the state have contacted officials at Chief Minister Raghubar Das' office. They have been assured that the policy can still be changed, Bishop Lakra said.

He said tribal people, including Christian lay groups, have planned a statewide protest May 15 to press the government for changing the policy in favor of tribal people.

Mukti Prakash Tirkey, editor of a weekly newspaper on tribal affairs published from New Delhi, said several industrial houses have set up their automobile and iron processing factories in the mineral-rich Jharkhand state, hiring people from outside.

"The new policy will include them also as Jharkhandi (people of Jharkhand) resulting in poor tribal people who have long been living in the states poorer," Tirkey added. 

Father Cyprian Kullu, vicar general of Gumla Diocese, said the government "is more concerned about outsiders than the local people" because outsiders are politically influential.

"We will not keep quiet as the Jharkhand church is a tribal church and we will protest and fight for the rights of tribal people," Father Kullu said.

The state has close to 1 million Christians, almost all of them tribal people, in a population of 32 million people. Its 4.3 percent Christian population is almost double that of the national figure.

Gumla district, where Gumla Diocese is based, has a high presence of Christians. Over 20 percent of the district's 1 million people are tribal Christians.

The ruling National Democratic Alliance government, led by Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, recently passed the policy after several rounds of discussions.

Father Vincent Ekka, a tribal researcher at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, told ucanews.com the policy is lopsided as it will help more outsiders get government jobs than tribal people because most tribal people are not qualified.

"State resources that could be spent for educational and health benefits of tribal people, will need to shared because of this policy," he said.

Support UCA News...

UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.

UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.

Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.

As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.

UCA News Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution