Christian families in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand have been ostracized by their village for embracing Christianity. The three families from Mangapat Sirsai village in West Singhbhum district, who became Christian a year ago, are being pressurized to return to the tribal Sarna belief system centered on the worship of nature.
The gram sabha or village council on Sept. 17 decided that the converted families will not be allowed to use common properties for free movement or grazing cattle. They will also not be invited to any social gatherings in the village and nobody will interact with them.
Gabbar Singh Hembrom, district president of the Adivasi Ho Samaj Yuva Mahasabha, a youth organization of local tribal people, warned the villagers to abide by the decision or end up paying a fine.
A meeting will be held every Sunday to check if the decision to ostracize the Christian families was being followed strictly by everyone.
Hembrom said: “The entire village follows the Sarna religion except for Raut Bankira, Rajendra Bankira and Hiralal Bankira, who converted to Christianity along with their families a year ago. We are ready to accept them if they return to our faith, but they refused.”
Mangapat Sirsai has nearly 200 households with a population of around 700 people.
Hembrom alleged that some Christian missionaries were luring the tribal people with land and money to convert them.