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Tribal groups from several states across the country Wednesday held a protest here, demanding they be listed under a distinct ‘religion code’ in the 2011 population census. Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay, who visited the protest-site, promised to take their demands to the government.

Nearly 150 people of various tribal groups from states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh took part in the protest at Jantar Mantar.

The protesters said that unlike other religions of the country, which have been provided specific allocations, the tribal groups which form 8.2 percent of the country’s population, have been deprived of their religious identity.

They appealed to the government to bring about changes in the 2011 population census table and work towards betterment of their living conditions.

Sahay said he came to the protest-site as he belongs to the tribal state of Jharkhand and his heart goes out for them. He said there is need for improvement in the living conditions of the tribal people.

“In this era of development, correct census of population of tribal people will make way for various central as well as state government schemes reaching them thereby leading to their development,” he added.

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