Christian Leader Opposes Jharkhand's Move to Sideline Tribal People

Published 09 November 2017  |  

Christians in Jharkhand have stood by the indigenous people protesting the state's move to ban people who have more than two children from contesting local body elections. The government's plan is to politically side-line indigenous people who traditionally have large families, said a local cardinal.

The pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party government has decided to disqualify people with more than two children in local body elections.

"It is a human rights violation," said Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi.

Toppo, a cardinal from Oraon tribe, said 17 years ago Jharkhand fought for the advancement of indigenous people but now it works against their interest.

"Restricting our people, who generally have more than two children, to contest the election is blocking our people from coming up in life," he said, according to UCA

"The government wants to demoralize and suppress tribal people and crush any emerging leadership," he added.

Another tribal leader questioned the intention of the new move that is only about local body elections.

Anabel Benjamin Bara, who teaches at the Jesuit-run Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, asked, "Why the new decision was only about local body elections. If the government is clear, this is a step to discourage population growth, it should also include state and national elections."

"But the government knows that tribals have more than two children. Their concern is only taking over tribal leadership from local bodies. It is a conspiracy to stop the voices of the tribal people," said Bara.


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