Jharkhand: CRPF jawan held for conducting ‘fake job drive’ for a separate Kolhan state

Ranchi: A CRPF jawan is among over a dozen who have been arrested in connection to Sunday’s violence in Jharkhand’s Chaibasa (West Singhbhum) following busting of a fake recruitment scam which was underway at a local government college yesterday to hire police and teachers for an alleged separate state — titled ‘Kolhan Government state’.

West Singbhum police on Monday said that eight persons were arrested yesterday and two more were held today.

Of them is one Ajay Pandya is a CRPF jawan, who in his confession to police said that he was roped in by one Anand Chatar on pretext of paying Rs 1 lakh for holding a recruitment drive. He also told police that Anand claims himself as the administrator of Kolhan region.

Notably, demand for a separate Kolhan state has its genesis to way back in 1980 when an outfit named Kolhan Raksha Sangh claimed that it was an independent region under Wilkinson’s rule. It is said that in 1981, one K C Hembrom, who headed the outfit had also sent a proposal to United Nations in Geneva to get it formally vetted. The movement however fizzled after his demise post which another leader Ramo Birua, said to be a former government servant, took over. However, he too died in mid 90s serving jail term. Since then, Anand Chatar is said to be leading the movement, said sources in Chaibasa.  

The police overpowered the 200 plus crowd of the armed agotationists, that had gheraoed the Muffasil police station demanding release of the four villagers arrested earlier in the day, but the fact of the matter is that demand for Kolhan Government Estate has been cropping up time and again by a group of villagers of Porahat, Chaibasa, since four decades.

Records and published reports suggest that somewhere around 1934 during the erstwhile British rule, they agreed to install tribals traditional system of governance in this region and provided legitimacy to the Manki Munda system under ‘Wilkinson rule’. It was named after Thomas Wilkinson, who was then the governor general. Under this system, traditional village heads had immense administrative powers in their region.

Some tribals however misinterpreted it and kept proclaiming it as a system established under a separate state. However, after Independence, Wilkinson rule ceased to exist, said those in the know.

Since then, protests for a separate state kept happening on and off, but situation on Sunday flared up further. While critics denounced it as failure of state police’s intelligence apparatus at the first place, local administration however maintained it otherwise. “It was due to local tip off that we had sent a team to verify the recruitment drive at the first place in the morning yesterday,” said an official, adding that the drive was halted and people were detained for questioning. However, in the afternoon, situation turned violent when several villagers gheraoed the thana and resorted to stone pelting forcing police to counter charge and fire tear gas shells.

Opposition BJP on the other hand dubbed the incumbent state government as going soft on anti-national elements. State party president Deepak Prakash said, “Under this government, anti national elements are getting emboldened. Soon after coming to power, this government announced to take back sedition cases from many people involved in Pathalgadi movement in Khunti. That empowered many with a belief that the government will safeguard them for vote bank politics no matter the kind of unconstitutional activities they conduct.”