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India – Tribal anger on the rise over Jharkhand tenancy act amendments

Photo by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
File photo of Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das

Opposition to the Raghubar Das government’s amendments to two tenancy acts in Jharkhand is heating up; former MP Salkhan Murmu has asked all 28 tribal MLAs to resign from the Jharkhand assembly

After reportedly getting an intelligence report that a majority of tribal officials have held several secret meetings over the last three months to oppose the Jharkhand government’s amendments to the Chotanagpur and Santhal Pargana tenancy acts, BJP think tanks are said to have advised Chief Minister Raghubar Das to take initiatives to win over tribals before it’s too late.

These officials, including 18 deputy collectors and 6 IAS and 3 IPS officers residing in Jharkhand, are also said to be in touch with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), Congress and All Jharkhand Students Union leaders including former chief ministers Hemant Soren and Babulal Marandi, Sukhdeo Bhagat and former tribal MP Salkhan Murmu.

Talking to this reporter, an IPS officer who does not want to be named said that discontentment is brewing in the entire tribal community over the amendments and all tribal officers are in support of the tribal community.

The talk is that new strategies are being chalked up for restarting tribal mass movements on the lines of those for the formation of Jharkhand state, against the Raghubar Das government. The aim is to either force him to take back the tenancy acts amendments, or be ready to face non-cooperation.

Two separate amendments to the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act were passed by voice vote in the Jharkhand assembly in November 2016, even as Opposition MLAs climbed on desks, hurled shoes and tore copies of the bill amid scenes of sheer bedlam.

Talking exclusively to this reporter, JVM (P) chief Babulal Marandi said that Das was trying to misguide tribals by claiming that the amendments were in their favour and would help in development of Jharkhand. “Let me explain. Earlier also, the government has acquired thousands of acres of land for HEC, Ranchi, Bokaro steel plant, BCCL, CCL, ECCL, Sindi unit besides for construction of dams like Chandil, Swarnarekha, Maithon, Tillayia dam. Even after formation of Jharkhand in 2000, more than 2,000 acres of land were acquired by railways for laying new tracks. After land acquisition, thousands of displaced are still protesting at Dhanbad, Bokaro, Jamshedpur and other places for money, jobs and compensation. These amendments are just to help chosen business and corporate houses, which is being opposed by almost all tribal leaders including a top BJP tribal leader. Raghubar Das will have to pay heavy price for this decision,” alleged Marandi.

The talk is that new strategies are being chalked up for restarting tribal mass movements on the lines of those for the formation of Jharkhand state, against the Raghubar Das government. The aim is to either force him to take back the tenancy acts amendments, or be ready to face non-cooperation.

Talking to this reporter, Salkhan Murmu declared that he has asked all 28 tribal MLAs—irrespective of party affiliation—to tender their resignations to create pressure on the Chief Minister, or start an agitation till the government collapses. “No government can run without cooperation of the tribal MLAs and if these MLAs do not oppose the amendment, tribals will brand them as anti-tribal and stop them from entering tribal villages, which will finish even their bleak chances of getting reelected. “My slogan is ‘Sarkar Girao-Jharkhand Bachao’ which is being supported even by all tribal officers who are standing on one plank on this issue”, claimed a confident Murmu.

JMM senior leader Hemant Soren said that his party was opposing the amendments since the day these were passed. He would not deny that several tribal officers are also in touch with him on this issue. “Raghubar Das will have to pay a heavy price for this blunder as majority of tribals now are ready for mass movement on this issue,” quipped Soren.

AJSU supremo Sudesh Mahto held the same opinion, opposing the tenancy act amendments saying that his party, despite being part of the NDA alliance government, has been opposing this move of Raghubar Das, which he also branded as “anti tribal”. On being asked whether he will also support tribal mass movement on this issue, he quipped “Yes, why not’.

When contacted, Jharkhand welfare minister Louis Marandi brushed aside the claim that a majority of the tribal population was opposing the amendment, saying that tribals were misguided by a few tribal leaders who till date have done nothing for tribals of Jharkhand. “Tribals are no fools and will not fall in traps of greedy tribal leaders” stated the BJP tribal minister.

BJP state president and MP Laxman Gilua also defended the amendments, claiming that in the long run, the amendments would help in development of Jharkhand and even the tribals would profit. “Opposition leaders are misguiding the tribals on this issue and are just creating confusion but they will ultimately fail,” stated Gilua/ http://www.nationalheraldindia.com/news/2017/03/05/tribal-anger-on-the-rise-over-jharkhand-tenancy-act-amendments-opposition-to-raghubar-das-government

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Comment (1)

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    The new amendments to the tenancy acts are anti – tribal and the acts will make the tribals suffer. Hence, the agitation is justified

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