In Jharkhand, Roman Catholic Church wrote a letter to Chief Minister Hemant Soren demanding a bill for a separate code for ‘Sarna’ community.
According to the report, in a letter, jointly signed by Felix Toppo, archbishop and Theodore Mascarenhas, auxiliary bishop, Ranchi, has said, "Tribals of the country are placed under the Scheduled Tribes list. Their safety, rights and identity are guaranteed under Articles 25, 29 and 342 of the Indian Constitution. Jharkhand is home to numerous tribes. To ensure the protection of tribal identity, culture and their existence, a separate Sarna Bill be brought and passed during the ongoing monsoon session of the Jharkhand assembly and sent to the Union Government for concurrence."
The letter further added that in all the tribal-dominated States, including Jharkhand, the process of implementation of the National Register of Citizens be kept in abeyance till a separate Sarna religious code is granted to tribes all over the country.
"The demand for a separate Sarna religious code has the support of all the bishops of Jharkhand and Andaman," the letter stressed.
While talking to media, Mascarenhas said, "A separate Sarna code would enable Tribals to register themselves as Adivasis when Census is conducted in 2021. A distinct Sarna code will also guarantee the protection of tribal identity, language and culture. The Roman Catholic Church has always been a strong proponent of a distinct Sarna religious code for Tribals," he added.
Though the Christian leaders are demanding separate code for Sarna community for the protection of their identity, language and culture, several incidences of conflicts have been reported between the Christian and Sarna communities. Many Sarna leaders have accused Christian missionaries of conversion activities in Sarna community.
According to the Census 2011, Christians constitute 4.3 % of the population in Jharkhand and the majorities are tribal.