Jharkhand govt must engage with Khunti citizens, protestors demand

Source: downtoearth.org.in

Every tenth person in the sites of ‘Pathalgadi’ by tribal communities face sedition charges, alleged protestors in Jharkhand. The police have invoked draconian laws, including allegations of sedition, against 30,000 unnamed people, they claimed.

The tribal protestors demonstrated in front of the Raj Bhavan — the guvernatorial seat — in Ranchi on July 22, 2019.

Those at the receiving end are mostly from Khunti, Arki and Murhu blocks of Khunti district, where ‘Pathalgadi’ was at its peak in recent years.

“The brutal manner in which the Jharkhand government is dealing with the Pathalgadi movement is a gross overreaction to legitimate and nonviolent demands from local adivasis,” development economist Jean Dreze, who has been working in the region for several years, said. The tradition of self-government should be valued and celebrated, he added.

Residents of more than 100 villages have put up stone plaques at village entrances to claim the power granted to Gram Sabhas under the constitutional provisions of the Fifth Schedule and the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA).

The special provisions are to protect the local community in tribal areas and recognise the role of Gram Sabha in self rule as reported extensively by Down To Earth.

The movement, however, has not gone down well with the state government, which has come down hard on some locals (includign a few intellectuals) who advocated the movement. Twenty such persons, including journalists and writers, face police cases allegedly for raising the issue on public fora.

The tribal community as well as experts have pointed out that Pathalgadi originated in 2015-16, when the government tried to take away land. People protesting under the umbrella of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a network of activists and people’s organisations.

Some 1.5 million people of Jharkhand were displaced, 41 per cent of whom were tribals.

In the last few decades, there have been several alleged attempts to grab land in the name of development projects (Koel-Karo hydroelectricity dams, Arcelor-Mittal steel plant, etc) in Khunti.

Bihari laborer Shahanbaz : A new victim of pellets in Kashmir

Source: siasat.com

SRINAGAR: Police showering pellets on Kashmiri protestors have consumed many lives, blinded many more and left thousands slowly losing their vision. Now pellet firing by armed forces in Kashmir has shattered hopes of a teenage migrant Bihari labourer.

Hailing from north Indian state of Bihar, Shahanbaj, has become the unlikeliest addition to the never-ending horror of pellets in Kashmir. The victim, Mohammad Shahanbaj, 17, a resident of Bihar, was caught in clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in south Kashmir last week, resulting in pellet injuries to his eyes.

The victim has suffered “varying scale of damage” caused by the metallic balls in both his eyes which are going to be operated by doctors. The victim came to Kashmir earlier this month along with three others from his village and they were putting up in a rented room in Bellow village of the restive south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

On May 24, after finishing Friday prayers, Alam was buying ration for dinner when a violent protest erupted against the killing of Zakir Musa, the commander of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind militant group. Running for cover, Alam reached a nearby alleyway a few metres from his rented accommodation.

“I felt scared. I wanted to return to my dwelling,” he said, adding: “When the situation thawed, I stepped on the main road and a shower of pellets fired by security forces penetrated my face,” he told the Wire.

The rampant use of pellets as a crowd control weapon, especially since the 2016 mass uprising in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, has become a focus of public anger in Kashmir.