India was all set to update the census this year and the preliminary work of gathering data for which was due to begin this month. But the process has been rescheduled and postponed until 2022 in light of the extreme spike in cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tribal organisations all over the country are questioning the decision to not let them choose a separate religion other than Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc., for a very long time. People are now raising questions with the hashtag #AdivasiTribalConsensus2021 as to why tribes have been deprived of a separate religious identity.

As set in 2011, a tribal person has to be slotted into pre-set categories – Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh. Before 2011, a seventh option for “others” was provided and most tribals opted for that.

Tribals have been raising this issue for a very long time, even last year when they protested at the Jantar Mantar. This time, people are raising their voice on social media by tweeting #AdivasiTribalCensus2021.

Recently, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had also said the same thing about tribal people’s identity during an online interaction at Harvard University. He said, “Tribals have been demoralised for centuries. We tribals are different than Hindus.”

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