New Delhi: Seven people were murdered and beheaded in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district in January. A Special Investigations Team (SIT) had linked the killings to opposition to the Pathalgadi movement – which seeks to preserve and safeguard tribal traditions. It was argued that the people were murdered because of their opposition to the Pathalgadi movement by a pro-Pathalgadi faction in the village.
However, a fact-finding team comprising of activists, writers and journalists has now suggested that there may have been a different reason. The team has found that those killed had not followed the diktats of the Sati pati cult – which nudges people to boycott government schemes and surrender government issues documents. The cult originated in Gujarat and has been active in Jharkhand for the past year.
The fact-finding team, which was put together collectively by Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha and National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), found in its visits and conversations, that about half of the village was following the sati pati cult, while the rest were not. Those who were killed belonged to the section of the village which did not surrender its government-issued documents as the sati pati cult had suggested.
James Budh, one of those killed, had been vocal about his opposition to the cult and had objected to giving up the benefits of government schemes. On January 16, James and some armed members of the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) – a Maoist splinter group – had attacked the houses of some of the followers of the sati pati cult.
Then, on January 19, members of the sati pati cult invited James and his accomplices to a meeting. According to the fact-finding team, this is what transpired at the meeting, “from the testimonies of sati pati supporters and family members of the victims, it emerged that the seven people were beaten to death in the meeting and then beheaded.”
The fact-finding team conceded that ‘several questions remain unanswered’ about the killings. But, it is certain that two factions in the village were pro-sati pati cult and anti-sati pati cult contrary to the narrative by the administration which has argued that the killings were the result of a contestation between supporters and detractors of the Pathalgadi movement.
To promote the art and culture of Jharkhand, the Department of Tourism, Art, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs in collaboration with Nav Pratibha Sansthan, Ranchi presented a drama ‘Mai Mati’ on February 10 at Sushila Palace in Ranchi.
The chief guest for the occasion was MLA Mathura Prasad Mahto. Assistant Director Art and Culture Department Vijay Paswan, Food Safety Commission member Hardhar Mahto, Padma Shri recipients Mukund Nayak and Madhi Mansuri Hasmukh were also present on the occasion with others.
The main focus of the drama was to give a message that State can protect Jul Jungle Zameen only by following the footsteps of the brave sons of State.
The artist through the drama also tried to give a message on how the sons of soil fought to protect Jul Jungle Zameen and also against the mighty Mughals and British.
In the drama, the saga of Thakur Vishwanath Shahdeo was also staged in a simplified way. It also urged the audience to beware of trouble makers in the State.
Neha Navneeta did justice to her character along with Vinod Mahto and Jaideep Sahay who demonstrated superb acting skills as Englishmen. Actor Sanjay Nayak who portrayed the role of a soldier urged the people to fight for their rights.
The Chief Guest for the occasion MLA Mathura Prasad Mahto praised the performances of the artists and said that Jharkhand is a rich centre of art and culture and both art and artists need to be preserved.
Member of Food Safety Commission said that Jharkhand is identified with culture and the people in the rural areas have managed to preserve it.
Probe ordered by health department
An infant has died after he was administered a vaccine at a government health centre in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district, Health officials said here on Sunday.
A probe has been ordered into the incident, they said.
Ramgarh Civil Surgeon Dr. Neelam Chaudhary said that three-month-old male child died on February 6 after being administered Penta-2 vaccine to protect from multi-diseases.
The Civil Surgeon said that a probe has been ordered by the health department after the incident came to light, adding that the District Rural Child Health Officer Dr. Vinay Mishra would inquire into the death of the infant.
The infant, identified as Rohan Kumar, son of Rohit Mahato of Patratu village under Gola block of the district died after he was given the vaccine in the government health centre at Gola, said another government official.
Mithlesh Singh, a local representative of the World Health Organisation, said that a case reporting format has been furnished with details of the death of the child after vaccination, adding “the vaccine is safe and given to other children also”.
Amid moves to merge with the BJP, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha chief Babulal Marandi has expelled MLA Pradeep Yadav from the party on the charges of anti-party activities.
Yadav is the second legislator to be expelled from the party.
“Pradeep Yadav was issued a show cause notice and he was asked to respond within 48 hours. However, as he failed to respond to the notice within the stipulated time, therefore, he has been sacked from the party following the directions of party supremo Babulal Marandi,” said principal general secretary of the party Abhay Singh.
On 4 February, the party had issued a show cause notice to Poriyhaat MLA Pradeep Yadav for certain statements made by him which the party said were anti-party.
Yadav has also been accused of making comments against Marandi.
The JVM-P had on January 21 sacked its Mandar legislator Bandhu Tirkey after accusing him of being involved in anti-party activities. Bandhu too was served a show cause notice.
The action against both the legislators is being seen as another step taken by the party on its path to merge with the BJP.
In the Assembly elections, the JVM-P had won three seats, which included Babulal Marandi, Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey.
Both Yadav and Tirkey, according to the party sources, were against the merger with the BJP.
The JVM-P has called a meeting of the party leaders on 11 February. According to party sources, the merger proposal would be discussed in this meeting.
Marandi was the first Chief Minister of the BJP-led state government in Jharkhand. He quit the BJP in 2006 and formed the JVM-P.
After giving good rains in Central India, the Confluence Zone is expected to shift towards east, due to which scattered rains may commence in Jharkhand by today evening or night. The intensity is expected to increase gradually and many parts of the state may observe violent thunderstorm activities along with lightning strikes for next few days. The strong winds are expected to blow and there are also chances of isolated hailstorm activities until February 8.
Meanwhile, scattered light showers are likely in Gangetic West Bengal, wherein, Kolkata stands a chance to experience patchy showers on February 8 and 9. On the other hand, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, as well as Central West Bengal, may remain dry.
Due to the presence of an Anti-Cyclone over the Bay of Bengal, humid winds from the southeast direction are blowing over East India. These winds are meeting with cold winds from the northwest leading to the formation of a Confluence Zone.
This convergence has led to the development of convective clouds that are capable of giving rain, thundershowers and lightning strikes. The Confluence Zone which has formed over Jharkhand is gradually expected to extend up to Gangetic West Bengal leading to rain.
Ranchi, Feb 5 (IANS) Despite claims by Jharkhand police that Leftwing extremism has been wiped out from the state, official figures show that at least 193 hardcore Maoist rebels carrying rewards up to Rs 1 crore are still wanted in the region.
According to police data, five Maoist rebels are carrying rewards of RS 1 crore each on their head, whereas, 62 Maoists are carrying Rs 1 lakh rewards, 32 each carrying Rs 2 lakh, 38 each carrying Rs 5 lakh, 25 each carrying Rs 10 lakh, 19 each carrying Rs 15 lakh and 15 each carrying reward of Rs 25 lakh on their head. They are among 193 wanted in the state.
The five Maoist guerrillas carrying Rs 1 crore rewards are: Prashant Bose alias Kisanda alias Manish alias Budda, Misir Besra alias Bhaskar alias Sagar, Asim Mandal alias Akash alias Timir, Anal-da alias Toofan alias Patiram Manjhi and Prayag Manjhi alias Vivek alias Foochna.
Sources said when Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar, there were two Maoist groups — Maoist Coordination Centre and People”s war Group. Both later merged and formed CPI-Maoists. Post merger at least six Maoist organisations were floated. The important Maoist organisations operating in Jharkhand include, People”s Liberation Front of India, TPC, JJMP, JPC and other splinter outfits.
After the formation of Jharkhand, more than 2,000 hardcore Maoist guerrillas were active in the state. Since the creation of the state, 510 security personnel and 846 Maoist rebels have been killed, whereas 500 Maoists have surrendered before police.
According to police sources, at least 400 Maoist guerrillas are still active in the state. Jharkhand”s 18 out of 24 districts are said to be Maoist-affected.
Jamshedpur- Stuck for more than an hour in a road block created by the supporters of Health Minister Banna Gupta, a seriously injured youth died in ambulance at Maango Chowk here while being taken to hospital.
Gupta’s supporters were celebrating his inclusion as a minister for the first time on his arrival in the city. They stopped traffic movement and burst crackers, leading to a massive jam at Maango Chowk in which couple of ambulances were also trapped.
The driver of the ambulance carrying the seriously injured youth, said he was taking him to a private nursing home from MGM Hospital, but the vehicle got trapped in the jam due to the road block.
Despite his repeated requests, the traffic police personnel and the supporters of the minister did not pay heed. The jam was cleared only after 90 minutes, but by the time he reached the hospital, the youth had died.
Following the incident, the state BJP accused the Health Minister of being directly responsible for the death.
State BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo demanded the Chief Minister to take action against the Health Minister and register a case under section 302 of the IPC against those responsible for the act.
On the other hand, Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who is currently in Dumka, said he was not aware of the incident but assured to look into the matter and take action against the guilty.
Impressed by the idea and execution of the pink auto initiative in Ranchi, a Chennai-based organization – involved in empowering women by training them in driving commercial vehicles – is planning to make inroads in Jharkhand. A senior representative of the organization has already met members of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) and some politicians from the ruling party to facilitate their entry in the tribal State.
Zaclon India Limited – a company that claims to have trained at least 5000 women in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharsahtra and Haryana in driving 11-seater shuttle vehicles for commercial use – is likely to meet representatives of GAIL next week to seek Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) support for their expansion plans in Jharkhand, a senior official of the company said.
Director of Zaclon India, Poonam Chopra was in Ranchi recently to finalise a meeting with the authorities here and proceed with the project. However, she is yet to meet any Government authority and discuss her plans for Jharkhand. “I have heard a lot about tribal women and their sincerity towards work.
The pink auto project in the city is impressive. We want to work in Jharkhand and train the women here in driving commercial vehicles, especially 11-seater shuttles for city plying,” Chopra said.
One of the objectives of the company’s skill development initiative is to empower women by providing livelihood to them, she said, adding that the company saw immense potential in Jharkhand and was looking forward to launch their driver training project here. “Women empowerment is one of the main objectives of our skill development projects. We want to impart driving training to women here, so they can become self-sufficient and financially independent,” Chopra said.
The pink autorickshaws – run by women and for women – was launched in Ranchi back in 2013 in order to ensure safe travelling experience to women in the State capital. The initiative gained appreciation from across the country. Today, pink autos are driven by women but they can be used by passengers from all genders.
Chopra met Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) General Secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya in Ranchi during an ASSOCHAM event at a city hotel and briefly explained the concept to him last week. “He seemed impressed with the idea. The ASSOCHAM event was based on the role of CSR and I truly believe that proper CSR boost to this project can do wonders for the women of the State,” said Chopra.
Jharkhand’s colours and culture served as a confluence for the east and west traditions of India at one platform in Ahmedabad recently.
Organised by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), Kalamandir, in Jamshedpur and Virasat Trust in Hazaribagh, the Jharkhand Festival with a tagline “Chalo Fariye Jharkhand Amdavadma” was a three-day affair from January 31 to February 2 at Natarani Amphitheatre in Ahmedabad’s Darpana Dance Academy.
This was the first Jharkhand Fest organised in Gujarat.
A team of more than 60 artists, social activists and experts from Jharkhand were a part of the festival.
From Jharkhandi food — jil peetha and dhuska — to painting demonstration and workshops on sohrai and pyatkar, the fest was a new experience for the Gujarati community.
“The idea was to know other states. Jharkhand is unexplored. We in Ahmedabad know about Maharashtra and even the Northeast but if you ask someone in Ahmedabad about Jharkhand, I wonder if you will get a reply despite the fact that the state is so rich in culture and has had its share of struggles to get its own identity. We not only did a lot of publicity for masses to walk in and experience the state culture but we also enjoyed researching about it,” said Priyakshi Agarwal, from the marketing and logistics department of Natarani Amphitheatre.
“The response was positive. For many it was a first-time experience. Even the participating artists were happy to have performed and participated in this unique three-day fest,” said Amitava Ghosh, co-convenor, Intach, Jharkhand.
The Tata Steel Jharkhand Literary Meet (TSJLM) was marked with mesmerising performances and enriching dialogue on the concluding day on Sunday.
The two-day cultural extravaganza drew to a close with a singularly unique and enrapturing performance by veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor. In a dramatic reading of his debut novel Dopehri, the thespian held the packed audience enthralled with his act, produced in the inimitable styling of Supriya Pathak.
Literary icon and arguable the most adored author of contemporary English literature in India, Ruskin Bond returned to the stage for the second time during this year’s TSJLM for a captivating session on the evolution of his murder mysteries. With a full house in attendance, Bond spoke about how he drew inspiration from day-to-day subjects and his immediate environment to develop his characters and narrative.
In his first visit to the city, journalist and renowned activist of the LGBTQ plus community Nemat Sadat spoke about the importance of acceptance and tolerance in his session. This was preceded by an informative dialogue between respected writers Gourahari Das and Mahadeo Toppo who spoke about the importance of literature in helping us transcend boundaries. The third edition of TSJLM also tipped its hat to poetry with a special session Hussain Haidry, Vandana Tete and Raga D’Silva.
The queen of pop who has entertained millions with her evergreen songs, Usha Uthup was also present at TSJLM to talk about her biography Ullas Ki Naav. Apart from endearing nuggets from her rich and prolific career, Uthup had the audience clapping along as she entertained those gathered with renditions of some of her popular songs.
“With this third edition of Tata Steel Jharkhand Literary Meet coming to an end on Sunday, I am happy to acknowledge the growing popularity of this event year on year. Tata Steel has always taken pride in associating itself with events that not only bring communities together but also give them a platform to engage and interact,” said Chief, Corporate Communications – India and SEA, Tata Steel, Kulvin Suri.
Suri said, “Like every year, this meet offered a plethora of sessions to cater to diverse literary and cultural preferences. The success of this edition of TSJLM gives us the confidence that this is an ideal platform for relevant discussions and conversations and reaffirms our commitment to support such events in the future.”