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Climate of fear in Jharkhand in the name of security: Top economist at Ranchi dharna

By Our Representative 

A Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM) dharna, in which several people’s organizations participated, has strongly protested against the alleged oppressive attitude of the police and security forces and human rights violations in the State.
Organised in front of the Governor’s House, Ranchi, speakers at the dharna said, although the current government is "somewhat better" than the previous BJP government of Raghubar Das, Adivasis and Moolvasis – especially the marginalized – continue to face oppression by the administration and the police.
Well-known devlopment economist Jean Dreze, who participated in the dharna, said that people from different decided to protest and ask the government about its commitment to human rights. They are demanding withdrawal of all Pathalgadi cases and also removal of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camps in schools. He added, the government has created an atmosphere of fear in the name of security and is doing injustice with people in the name of justice.
Ambika Yadav and Aloka Kujur, who moderated the dharna, said, the current government had got a clear mandate against the anti-people policies and activities of the government. Yet, Adivasis and Moolvasis are routinely slapped with cases of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and sedition and also face cases that falsely accuse them of being Maoists.
The current government had promised taking back all the cases on Adivasis in the Pathalgadi movement, but no action has taken place on this promise so far. Illegal mining is taking place in many villages and despite complaints by people, the administration is yet to take any action, they stated.
Arvind Pal of Dhajwa Pahad Bachao Sangharsh Samiti said they have been protesting against the illegal mining for the past 87 days, but the administration is yet to listen to them. He warned, they will keep protesting till the fraudulent lease made for the illegal mining is cancelled.
Pushpa Bhogta of Sarvhara Jan Sangharsh Morcha said, natural resources were in danger as they were being "sold illegally", while Bharat Bhushan Chaudhary of the Samajwadi Jan Parishad said the matter of Dhajwa Pahad was a test of the government to see whether it stops the open loot of natural resources and takes action against the responsible companies and government officials.
Sunil Manjhi of Gomiya, hailing from Bokaro, said that his father Sanjay Manjhi was falsely implicated in an earlier case of a Maoist incident in which he got a notice for attachment of his property, even though he had neither fled nor had any association with the Maoist party. "There are many such cases in his area", he added.
Lal Mohan Khairwar of Latehar said, on June 12, 2021 in Piri village (Garu), innocent 24-year old Brahmdev Singh died when security forces, out on a Maoist search campaign, fired at him. "Till date an FIR has not been registered against the guilty security forces, neither has the victim’s family received any compensation", he said.
Memorandum being handed over at the Governor's House
Narayan Kandeyag and Ajit Kandeyag of West Singhbhum, referring to human rights violations in Kolhan, said, on June 15, 2020, during a Naxal search operation, CRPF personnel brutally beat Adivasis of Chiriyabera village (Anjedbeda revenue village, Khuntpani block, West Singhbhum) with sticks, batons, rifle butts and their boots.
No FIR has been lodged against the guilty CRPF personnel, nor any compensation has been provided to the victims, he complained, adding, on January 23, 2022, the police unleashed violence against innocent villagers in Chaibasa town, which suggests the state's oppressive ways continue unabated.
Adivasi Women’s Network’s Elina Horo talked about the continued incidents of bonded labour and sexual assault of Jharkhand’s women. In October 2019, two women from Dumka were assaulted in a factory in Bengaluru. A chargesheet was filed only after two years and the trial is yet to begin, she said.
Kumar Chand Mardi of Gaon Ganrajya said people are struggling against illegal mining in Nachosai of East Singhbhum, pointing out, the State government is yet to prepare rules for Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, hence, the law is yet to come into force in the State.Birsa Hembrom of the Hul Jharkhand Kranti Dal added, the State government is yet to "properly implement" the Forest Rights Act.
Praful Linda of the Adivasi Adhikar Manch said, it is unfortunate that, like the previous government, the current government is also continuing to lodge cases under UAPA and innocent villagers are suffering from these cases. Deepak Ranjit, who is active in the ongoing bhasha andolan, said, the government, quite like the previous one, has failed to understand the Jharkhandi sentiments in the ongoing bhasha andolan.
At the end of the dharna a charter of demand and cases of human rights violations were submitted to the governor.

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