6th June 1954 -- 9-15 a.m. to 12 noon.
Present-Chairman and Members
The meeting was held at the Dharamjaygarh Club, where officers and non-officials including Christian and non-Christian Uraons of interior villages were present. A list of the villages, from which villagers had assembled, is attached.
2. Shri Lobo and Shri Francis, on behalf of the Christian Regional Committee, were present as observers. Shri John Ekka, M.L.A., was also present.
3. Addressing the audience, the Chairman pointed at the outset the purpose for which the Committee had been appointed by Government and intimated that the Committee will proceed in an open public impartial and judicial manner to find out the truth. He appealed to the audience to cooperate with the Committee and to place before them whatever information they may have in their possession concerning matters relevant to the enquiry. He pointed out that the Committee, at present, was engaged in a preliminary survey and wanted to find out what exactly are the grievances of non-Christians against Christian missionaries and of the Christian missionaries against non-Christians including officers of Government.
4. Shri K. P. Mishra, ex-Chairman, Janapada Sabha, pointed out that in the regime of the previous Ruler, conversion to another religious faith was banned, but, on the death of the Ruler, the management of the State was taken over by the Political Department as the successor was a minor, and during his regime, Christian missionaries started their activities. They converted masses of Uraons in villages by giving them monetary and other allurements with the result that an enquiry was held by European officers of the Political Department in the year 1930. As a result of that enquiry, it was held that these conversions had been effected by temptations of loan, etc., and the Political Department ordered that the money advanced by Christian missionaries should be refunded through the treasury. Thereafter, an Act was passed under which the entry of Christians into the State was banned. Shri Mishra, therefore, placed before the Committee his view that a similar legislation should he enacted by the present Government. His charge was that missionaries converted innocent Uraons and Kharias by giving them monetary temptations, by advancing them loans and by telling them that, they would lose their fear of police and petty Forest and Revenue Department officials and will not be required to go in begar if they embraced Christianity.
5. A case of one Shri Mayaram, Janpad Member, was quoted by Shri Mishra to show how people were induced to become Christians. According to Shri Mishra, a Christian pracharak, came to Mayaram’s house, stayed therein, gave Rs. 25 as rent for a portion of the house which would ordinarily get only about Rs. 5 and later appointed Mayaram as a Pracharak on. Rs. 30 per month. Later, Mayaram became a Christian and told several persons including Government officers that he had embraced Christianity for sake of monetary help.
6. Shri Bhayalal Sharma, a teacher, narrated his own experience of how people were converted. During 1939-42, he was in Baloda Bazar in Raipur district, where an American missionary, was engaged in preaching and converting people. In the course of preaching she used to criticise bitterly the Hindu religion and especially Lord Krishna. Individual temptations were given to Bhayalal Sharma also, but he was not prepared to embrace Christianity. He has toured the interior of Dharamjaygarh and Jashpur extensively and his opinion is that similar activities of the missionaries are going on in these areas.
7. One old Uraon named Buranshah of Laxminagar village told that conversions were effected by cutting the topknot and advancing money. Re-conversions were allowed after a fine was paid off. In his village, however, Uraons have not yet become Christians though attempts are being made by missionaries to convert some people.
8. Mohan, an Uraon of about 18 years of age, stated how he became a Christian along with his father and other persons of the village about 10 years ago. After conversion, his name was changed to Johan. At present, he is a pracharak and has recently started a school, which has 14 students, all Christians. From the beginning of next year, he proposes to teach Christian religion to these persons also. According' to him, a young lad of a village went to Ginabahar mission centre, where he learnt Christian religion and was appointed a pracharak. It was as a result of his preaching that the whole village consisting of six houses became convert. The villagers met in a panchayat and decided to become Christians. They informed the missionaries who came to the village after about a week and the villagers were baptized in the village church. He does not know if any loan was advanced to his parents before conversion.
9. Shri D. N. Tiwari of the Tribal Welfare Department also gave information about the methods employed by Christian missionaries in various parts of the tahsil in order to convert people. According to Shri Tiwari, Christian children were prevented from going to Government or Janpad schools by various coercive measures including imposition of fines by the missionaries on the parents of such boys. In some villages, where a large number of persons became converts, they were coerced so that the remaining population also became converts.
10. Members of the Committee asked questions to Christian and non-Christian Uraons present to know local customs, etc.
11. Before dispersing, Shri Francis, President, Catholic Regional Committee, presented an application to the Chairman requesting him that an assurance may kindly be given that Christian men and women who will tender written or oral evidence before the Committee will be protected from the effects of executive vengeance and wrath as, according to Shri Francis, Christian tribals of Jashpurnagar were apprehending that they might be
6th June 1954.
Domandas Panka of Raymer (Kabirpanthi) complained that they are induced to become Christians by affording educational facilities to children.
2. The following persons reported that they were converted by giving loans for plough:-
3. Dewar (now Dunis) of Kamrai was converted in 1935 in Tapkara, According to him, there is no religious preaching as such by the pracharaks. He himself is now a pracharak.
List of villages from which people had assembled.
The 6th June 1954.
Number of village’s represented-15. Person’s present-About 500.
(1) Somraram of Ludeg, (2) Manguram of Rede, (3) Bokha Uraon of Ludeg, and (4) Likhanram of Bangaon submitted complaint of the following nature: -
The Christians destroy Sarnas, if the Uraons do not become Christians. The number of Christians has increased after the merger of States. The Pracharaks threaten that they will drive away those people who do not become Christians, as soon they are going to have Jharkhand. The Pracharaks tell them that the Hindu religion is bad. They preach Jharkhand. The Luther Mission particularly does so.
Manguram was Pracharak two years ago. He was converted in 1947 by giving him a loan of Rs. 100 from Tapkara. He became Hindu after paying off the loan.
Michael Lakda of Ludeg, a Christian, told that the Uraons drink rice beer and eat pigs. Therefore, they are outcast. He was a Pracharak getting Rs. 30 per mensem and used to go to Ludeg from 1935 on tour with the priest.
Michael told that he had no troubles with Government officers. He was attacked by the non-Christians in Ginabahar. He never speaks against the Hindu religion. He teaches in a school and is a Pracharak.
Vidyadhar Khuntia (Yadao-non-Christian) Gaothia said, in 1948 Hindus from Jashpur, Udaipur and Surguja came to Ludeg because they were threatened that they would be massacred, if they did not become Christians and did not agree to Jharkhand. He also informed that in Majghotri bungalow, a cow was slaughtered to insinuate Hindus.
Villages represented at Ludeg.
The 7th June 1954.
One hundred and fifty persons from four villages present.
Jagdish Tirkey (Christian), Secretary, Jharkhand Party, Jashpur, told that the headquarters of the party is Ranchi. Its President is Shri Jaipal Singh. Local president is Shri Michael Tirkey, a Christian. There are 100 members on the Working Committee, of whom one office-bearer is a non-Christian. His name is Dharmorao and he is assistant volunteer.
Maituram Nagesia, of Dharan (a non-Christian), said that the Hindus are opposed to Jharkhand. If there is Jharkhand, he requested that Government should help the people against the Christians.
Abdia Kujur, a Christian by birth, said that if Government improve their conditions of living and bring them prosperity, they do not want Jharkhand. Government should give schooling, scholarship, agricultural and medical facilities.
Balram Pradhan, Uraon from Kharsoto (a law graduate of the Patna University) said that the movement is purely a Christian movement. It fosters in illiterate masses and its members are 97 per cent Christians.
Shri Jagdish further informed that the Ram Rajya Parishad and the Congress Party are against Jharkhand. The Praja-Socialist Party is in favour. There are no Communists in the movement.
The Pastors do not take any interest in Jharkhand movement. All other Christians including Catholics are in favour of Jharkhand.
Tuppo, headmaster (a Christian), said that a person is told that there is salvation from sin in Christianity, and if he is influenced by this and wants to become a Christian, he is baptized in a church and his name is changed after baptism. A register of baptism is maintained in a church. This is with the Padri. There are families in which there is only one Christian and others are non-Christians. They eat together but worship separately. All students have to attend a prayer. There are Christian and non-Christian students in the school. There is also Bible teaching once a week. A school building is used for worship, if necessary.
Premsukh Kujur, a local Padri, is in charge of Ichakela church since the last one year. He is originally from Sindoga sub-division of Ranchi district. Villagers seek advice regarding private individual matters including money matters. Premsukh says Padris do not advance money. He is in charge of 9 churches. After prayers, enquiries are made regarding individual health and difficulties. Musa Turkey, a Pracharak, is also a vaidya. They also visit non-Christians. They are given medicine, if they want it. When the financial position of the padris is sound, they help the villagers financially also. Premsukh has so far advanced Rs. 40 to Samuel of Biropani for purchase of bullocks. Rs. 2 was given to one non-Christian Loko also. There are 19 pracharaks in his jurisdiction. Their pay is Rs. 15 to Rs. 22 paid out of local contribution. They do not get anything from mission. The Christian population in 19 villages, having churches, is 4,000.
Premsukh, says, there is no complaint about failing Christian students in schools deliberately.
One Kandra from village Sukda was advanced loan and later after 4-5 years, was converted to Christianity. Several cases have been lodged against the Father in the court.
Vishwanath, son of Leda, from Saila village of Kunkuri school, was converted to Christianity and through him his parents are also being converted.
The preachers who visit villages say that the villagers are without religion and therefore they will not get salvation if they have no religion. They don’t attack the Hindu religion. This is not true of Lutherand Mission. That is why their number is small. It is suggested that more facilities for financing money, educational facilities, etc., should be given.
Bahalu of Amertoli was induced to become a Christian by Gholang Padri as there was a coin to be English raj in a short period. All the people in his village are Christians, and as he is the only non-Christian, he is socially boycotted. He is not allowed to draw water from well. He has been removed from service. Babu Dugraj Kisan, of Amertoli, ex-gaotia, and Stanislans (Toli) confirmed about social boycott.
Mangaldas of Ara from mouza Kodra said that a padri from Gumla division of Ranchi district has been coming to his village for the last three years, but he is resisted. There is singing ‘ganabajana’, etc., when he comes. He tells people that the Government is sinful, and so there is no rain. Harihar Sukul of Sakardegaon confirms this.
The 7th and 9th June 1954.
Shri J. Minj, Pleader, Jashpur: Aboriginals do not worship God. They are not Hindus. Budhu Kujur is a tribal name. Hindus drop out Kujur and add ram to Budhu making it Budhuram and thus call him Hindu. This has been done by the Inspectors of Schools. Tribal surname is not changed in Christianity.
Shri Deshpande, Pleader: Uraons have no surnames. They keep the name of clan. After arrival of missionaries, they have been putting on these surnames. They think their gotra as a sacred name. Budhuram is the real name. Giving a surname is to make the boy feel that he is a Christian. Police complain about this. Conversions are not genuine. Uraons have two Complaints-one is against conversion, and the other is regarding hurting their national feelings. Their economic conditions have not improved even on conversion. Similarly no change in moral conditions. Pro-Bihar movement is a separate entity. This shows that they want to carve out a Christian State out of India. There is no difference among the various sections of Christians so far as Jharkhand movement is concerned. Political meetings are held in prayer houses. A number of instances will he quoted at the time of evidence. Foreign missionaries are taking most active part. Non-Christians are not generally asking for Jharkhand. In places where they are in an overwhelming majority, the missionaries openly talk of Jharkhand. Non-Christian adivasis are not interested in Jharkhand. Advancing loans, holding stocks (grain bank) and coming to the aid of people are some of the methods adopted. It is not possible to give information about the total financial aid.
Gustav Munda (of Lutheran church) ex-M. L. A. reconverted to Hinduism in November. 1953-now Sukhedeo Sukra of Sundergarh (10 miles from M. P. border), Orissa State: Missionaries take active part in elections. After independence, tribal religion is good for the sake of India's unity. Tribal people join different churches and the unity of the people is lost.
Tribal Welfare Department Official: Christians take objection to sending boys to Government schools. Harishankar Mishra, Assistant District Inspector of Schools, Jashpur, intimated that one mission school was granted provisional recognition after merger. After the expiry merger of the period, the mission school did not approach for recognition. Christian missionary schools are charging fees in cash or kind, which is against the rules of recognition. Scale of pay of teachers is not as recommended by Government. Names of students have been changed by the mission authorities and not by Inspectors. Mission authorities also refuse certificates to non-Christian students. Copies of inspection notes (of schools) were given, but missions did not fulfill the necessary conditions of recognition. Preachers are teachers and it is binding on them that they must teach religion. Mission schools have unhealthy competition with Government schools.
to Gholang, the following complaints were made by villagers from 20 villages:-
It was mentioned to the Committee by villagers that missionaries gave allurements of education to children and monetary assistance for agricultural purposes. They hate Hindu religion. Christians performed a drama against Hinduism at Chirotoli. Missionaries say, “Become Christians and then you will get Jharkhand”. Villagers do not want Jharkhand. They also say, “We will give free nistar and charai in jungles. If you don’t become Christians now, we will convert you later”.
At Timarna (two miles from Jashpur), non-Christians’ services have been terminated. Well water is also not allowed to he taken.
Fairuram of Manora village said, “These are Catholic Christians and Father Bulcans instigates people to do so”. His wife was threatened for taking water. There were several Christian wells.
Saruwa was converted by giving medicine. He was forcibly made to kneel down and pray.
Punia Budhia also said the same thing.
The 7th June 1954.
Shri J. Tigga, Advocate, Gumla, District Ranchi (Bihar): Missionaries have been in Jashpur State since 1905. They have helped that State and now they are helpful to the Indian Government. Mission schools have not yet been recognised. Every school should be recognised for the betterment of the country. Students of all religions go there. We do not want to disturb peace. All are agriculturists. Our main object is to spread education. 10 per cent girls are educated. Protection should be given to us as minorities. Three girls of Uraon Christian community educated up to Matric and at present working as teachers in Jabalpur and Delhi.
Pracharak of Chichli: One man was converted on 12th March 1954 with his own consent. Receives pay of Rs. 5 per month. Has cultivation of 7 acres. Complains against Mangru Patel of Saila and says he abuses Father.
Alexis Toppo (Vishwanath) of Sanna was converted as Catholic in 1947.
At present 19 Wears of age. Parents and grandfather alive and not converted. He says, “I was enrolled in school when I was six years of age. I became Catholic with due consideration and not at the instance of anybody. I had taken permission of my parents before conversion. I live with parents. Five maunds rice is taken in the school as fees. Rs. 63 per month be-sides boarding fees inclusive of boarding charges”
C.O., T. W. D., says, “Don’t send your sons to mission school”. He is Sansari.
Complains against Deshpande of Jashpur that he abuses Fathers. Deshpande is responsible for all the troubles.
Marha (now Phillip Ekka). - A distillery has been erected in his field. He wants that it should be removed from there.
Lucas wants that the school should be recognised and helped.
Petros says that Christians do not want Jharkhand. Catholics are not in favour of Jharkhand. At present they are P. S. P. followers. A. D. I. S. asks the teacher how many students should be passed. A. D. I. S. did not allow students of Gholeng to appear at primary examination in Jashpur. Treatment was unfair. 31 students were allowed to appear at the examination out of 52 after giving test. 16 passed out of these 31. Previous test should not be conducted and the examination should be conducted here. The examination should be for three days and in writing. We do not get wood.
Marquis. - The whole progress is made as a result of the conversion to Christianity. We have improved and progressed very much.
Chairman thanked the gathering. The Committee visited the Gholeng school and the church after the meeting was over.
RAYKERA ON WAY TO GINABAHAR
The 8th June 1954 -- 8-30 a.m.
About 100 people.-Village (1) Raykera, (2) Ghursa, (3) Kandara, (4) Mayali, (5) Deogarh, (6) Jokhari, and (7) Bodokatha.
Masat Baiga of Jokari: Christians play drama against Hindu religion. The people agreed to send a copy of the drama. Christians want to destroy Sarnas of Adivasis saying that there is ghost in it. They are prevented from sending pupils to Adivasi schools. Christians preach Jharkhand. Cows are used by them for ploughing instead of bullocks with a view to hurt our religious feelings. They are also forced to eat beef.
Ladhuram of Raykera: Place of worship where they had installed Mahadeo has been ploughed down.
ON WAY TO GINABAHAR
The 8th June 1954 -- 9 a.m.
About 50 people. Villages-12.
The people who were mostly non-Christians, complained against Christians and presented applications and spoke about the performance of drama, which is Anti-Hindu.
The 8th June 1954 -- 10 a.m.
Present-Two-third Christians and one-third non-Christians.
Ramghora Choube, Hindu: A Hindu girl, 12 years of age, by name Budhni Urai, has been kept in a Christian house. She was not traceable for three days. She has property. It is understood that it is proposed to marry her to a Christian. Her father’s name is Raghubara, who has expired in Rajouti. Her mother has gone to Assam. Bhuddu Uraon (Hindu) was entrusted with the care of the girl when she was five years of age. She stayed there for five years. He was her brother. Nanuram, Christian, of my mouza has kept the girl in his house since the last five months, with a view to convert her. A complaint has been given to police. Shri John Ekka, M.L.A., is also involved in this case.
A Christian Father threatened on the 19th February 1954 some 800 Hindus (converts). With his fear they again became Christians. The case has been reported to police.
At the instigation of Christian missionaries this meeting has been called and has been attended by non-Christians and they are ventilating their grievances from their platform.
Petros and Benjamin of Katmoda (seven others also) say that they were fraudulently converted to Hinduism by some mission. They were asked to keep topknot. That has since been removed. They were told that they would be given clothes and land.
Petros Tirkey. - The complaints against missionaries are false. We are born Christians. Our parents were Christians.
Benidhar of mouza Lodma, Hindu agriculturist. - A drama was performed by Christian boys where it was said that Ganges water does not give salvation, so also going to Mandirs, and abused Hindu preachers, Devdevta and Tukdoji. Some Hindus went to see and others were Christians.
Daluram of Chuhikuha: We were making kirtan. In the end, when we said ‘Seetaram ki Jay’, Christians came and said ‘Jesus ki jay’ and ‘Jharkhand ki jay’. ‘Ram was only a raja, he was not a God’. This happened only once on 6th May 1954, Thursday.
Gabriel of Ludhma: In the fair held in the month of May, a teacher from the Tribal Welfare Department interfered. Report was made to police. Sub-Inspector of Police came and troubled us. We were not given food. There were 11 actors in the drama. Four dramas were performed, viz., Jashpurka Sadhu, Mattipuja (witchcraft), Budhabudhi and Soneka Gufa. The witchcraft said that I cure patients by giving them flowers. We took one month to learn this drama. Two of the shows were moral and three were Tamasha.
Sukhpalsingh of Remte and Jaisingh: On 19th May 1954 we were performing kirtan. Christians from Dhodhidet came. They were about 150 in number. Cyril was among them. He shouted ‘Mary Amma ki jay’, ‘Jharkhand ki jay’. Their road was different, but they came deliberately by this road, because we were doing kirtan.
One Christian of Dhodhidet: It was dark and so we went by a short cut. We did not say Jharkhand ki jay. We were about 100 in number. We said, Meri Mata ki jay.
A Christian from Tangargaon: After Janpad election, a complaint was given against Boko Sardar in writing. Nagan Padri was taken to Atras Soma’s house for fear of Boko. Boko Sardar abuses Christians in Tangargaon with a dagger in his hand. He did not beat anybody. Simply he shouted. Made water in church.
Gurbal Baiga, Non-Christian, Ludhma: One man was tied by Christians. A sarna plant was also axed. I beard all this.
Bhandari in Kunkuri since Raja’s time: Swamiji and Deshpande said, ‘You can’t become P. S. P. as you are Raja’s servants at the time of Janpad election. Swamiji said, ‘You become Hindu; otherwise I do not want to see your face.’
Thomas, Forest Guard: Complains against Hindus.
John Ekka, M.L.A.: We are blamed for Jharkhand, but we do not want it. We are not anti-nationals. Charges of conversion levelled against us are false. My grandfather brought missionaries from 136 miles in Ranchi and we became Christians. Christian and non-Christian spirit was not there previously, but since Deshpande’s coming this has started. On October 11, 1941, Deshpande came to church in procession with a view to perform kirtan. Deshpande is responsible for all the troubles. The result of this spirit will be very bad. This may result in disturbance to peace and order. Political differences have been introduced recently. Some Hindus started pro-Bihar movement. This movement is not of Christians only.
The 8th June 1954.
Dilbodhandas, Panka, Kabirpanthi: Took loan of Rs. 20 from missionaries. Two houses and land have been taken. Still the missionaries want Rs. 30 for complete repayment.
There were six more persons having the same complaint.
Bikna Urao of Pakdi Kachha: Two tests in primary final examination of Mission School students. Officers of Jashpurnagar ask caste when approached for appointment. There was a class of patwari training in Muskutry, where 53 students learnt and 52 passed. One of the students sought the job of patwari. The Kanungo said, that he does not recognise Anamat training in Madhya Pradesh.
The school teacher says, “We cannot count you as tribals because you are Christian”. In Patel election the man selected by Christians was not appointed but votes were taken.
In Basan mouza, Pakhnikota toli, there were 50 Christians and 22 non-Christians. Voting was also the same for patel. But the man who secured 22 votes was selected because it was said that, that man getting highest number of votes was a Christian. Budhadhar of village Mukundram was appointed by Tahsildar. The other person who was supported by Christians was not appointed. We went to court nine times, but no heed was paid because we are Christians.
Boko Sardar spoils sanctity of the church. Patwari reports cases of Christians bringing grass lands tinder cultivation. There are no Christian patwaris. Christians are required to pay double the bribe for recording changes by the patwari.
The Christian Father present said that in Ghugri village Christians are riot allowed to graze cattle and wash clothes in public places. Government officers don’t help. There is likely to be a communal clash.
In the Muskutri hospital, it was reported that it was visited by 500 patients per month and people came from far off villages.
The 9th June 1954 -- 9 a.m.
Sub-Divisional Officer, Police, stated that it is not a fact that Ghatmunda people were made to say in the thana for the whole night. He also said that enquiries were made against Boko Sardar as and when complaints were received against him, but nothing had so far been found on which he could be prosecuted, and there was also no evidence and witnesses to help Government from the complainant party.