Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said PM Narendra Modi was welcome in Jharkhand but the decision to recognise the 'Sarna' religious code for tribals was pending with the Centre.
PM Modi is scheduled to visit tribal icon Birsa Munda's village Ulihatu in Khunti district on November 15, which is observed as 'Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas' and is also the state's foundation day.
"The prime minister is welcome in Jharkhand... We have already sent all the papers (related to demands for a separate Sarna religious code for tribals) to him... Now, he has to take a decision on it," Soren told reporters on Thursday.
He said the code was necessary to identify that the tribals are different from the followers of other religions, besides to ensure the protection of their constitutional rights.
In a letter to the PM in September, he had sought the recognition of the 'Sarna' code for tribals in order to safeguard their religious existence and constitutional rights and claimed that their population in the region has declined to 26 per cent from 38 per cent in the last eight decades.
Soren's party, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), claimed that Modi's visit to Ulihatu was aimed at wooing the tribal voters.
The state BJP said that preparations were afoot for the programme, and people were eager to listen to what the PM would say.
PM Modi has accorded respect and power to tribals by declaring November 15 as 'Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas' in 2021, state BJP president Babulal Marandi said.
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