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Date dilemma for Sendra festival

A difference of opinion between two tribal outfits has led to a dilemma over the day of Sendra celebrations.

While Dolma Buru Sendra Dishua Samiti announced the hunting festival, also known as Bishu Shikar, will be observed on May 19, older outfit Dolma Buru Sendra Samiti is yet to declare a date.

Chief priest of Sendra Samiti Rakesh Hembrom, whose ancestors have been celebrating the festival at Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary since 1340, accused the newer outfit of causing confusion.

“I have called a meeting of 12 village heads at my residence in Gadra on April 25 to resolve the issue,” he added.

Hembrom said he would accept whatever decision was taken at the meeting.

“I will raise no objection if village heads agree to observe the festival on May 19. But, I would not allow this confusion to take place next year. I am writing to the chief minister and governor to look into the matter and authorise our outfit to announce Sendra dates,” he said, adding he would also invite Sendra Dishua Samiti general secretary Fakir Chand Hembrom and Dalma range officer Mangal Kacchap to the meeting.

Fakir Chandra Hembrom, however, declared that they would stick to the May 19 date. “We are going ahead according to schedule. One organisation should not have a monopoly over Bishu Shikar celebrations. We are also tribals and our outfit has the right to celebrate Sendra according to our convenience,” he said.

As chaos prevails, tribals seem divided. While some are going ahead with May 19, others are swearing allegiance to Sendra Samiti. “Sendra Samiti is a frontal outfit organising Sendra under its banner for centuries. Why should an outfit born in 2012 give the festival date?” asked Chhotelal Bodra, a resident of Khairbani.

Countering Bodra, Bibek Tudu from Fadlugora said the older outfit wanted to maintain its hold on Sendra celebrations, which was unfair. “I, my uncles and my brothers will celebrate Sendra on May 19,” he added.

Dalma range officer Mangal Kacchap said the dispute should be settled amicably. “I will speak to both outfits and try to find a solution. I don’t want Sendra to be celebrated on two separate days,” he said.

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