The Jharkhand Assembly has passed a resolution on Sarna Code on November 11, 2020. The resolution was passed during a special one-day assembly session.
This resolution on Sarna Code seeks to include the Sarna as a separate religion in the 2021 Census. The Chief Minister (CM) of Jharkhand Hemant Soren stated that now this resolution would be sent to the Central government for approval. However, the opposition parties had submitted a proposal to have discussion on the resolution which was accepted by the speaker of Jharkhand Assembly, Rabindra Nath Mahato.
The CM Hemant Soren had tabled the proposal to have a separate ‘Sarna Code’ for the tribals in the Jharkhand. But, opposition had proposed an amendment to the resolution to remove the ‘tribal/Sarna’ word from it. This amendment was accepted by the Jharkhand CM. This Sarna Code resolution has been passed with an aim to have a special column for followers of the ‘Sarna’ religion in the Census 2021.
The tribal leaders of the state of Jharkhand have been demanding for the implementation of the Sarna Code in census surveys. Once the code is implemented, this would allow the tribals to be identified as followers of the Sarna faith in the 2021 census. Earlier census survey had included them as “others” in the column of religion. These tribals leaders further claimed that, there was a separate Sarna Code during 1871-1951 but it was removed in the year 1961. They further claimed that during the 2011 Census, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes had recommended Centre to add the Sarna code in the Census. But, the recommendation was not implemented at that time.
Sarna followers are the worshippers of nature. They do not consider themselves as Hindus. They are now fighting for a separate religious identity as presently they are not considered as a separate religious identity.