A large number of tribals on Tuesday assembled near the Parasnath hills in Jharkhand’s Giridih district, urging the state government and the Centre to free their holy site from the “clutches” of the Jain community.
They also warned of severe agitation if their demand was not met.
Thousands of tribals from Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha reached the hills earlier in the day, carrying traditional weapons and beating drums.
"’Marang Buru’ (Parasnath) is the birthright of Jharkhand’s tribals, and no power in the world can deprive them of this right," a member of the ‘Jharkhand Bachao Morcha’, which claims to be an outfit of over 50 bodies, asserted on Tuesday.
It said that thousands of adivasis will observe a day's fast on January 30 at Ulihatu in Khunti district, the birthplace of tribal icon Birsa Munda, in solidarity with the movement to “save” the Parasnath hills.
Jains across the country have been demanding the scrapping of a 2019 Jharkhand government notification designating Parasnath hills as a tourist place, fearing this would lead to an influx of tourists who may consume non-vegetarian food and liquor at their holy site.
Even as the Centre stayed the Jharkhand government’s move to promote tourism at the Parasnath hills after protests by Jains, tribals jumped into the fray staking a claim to the land and asking for it to be freed.
The Santhal tribe, one of the largest Scheduled Tribe community in the country, has a sizeable population in Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and West Bengal and are nature worshippers.
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