Jharkhand: Activists knock Governor’s door against atrocity & human rights violations of tribals and marginalized in state

Ranchi: Members of various people’s organizations participated in a dharna on Tuesday organised by Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, in front of the Governor’s house to protest against the oppressive attitude of the police and security forces, cases of human rights violations and illegal mining in Jharkhand. They also submitted a memorandum to governor Ramesh Bais with their charter of demand and cases of human rights violations.

Ambika Yadav and Aloka Kujur, who moderated the dharna began with giving a context of the dharna. The current government had got a clear mandate against the anti-people policies and activities of the Raghubar Das government. Although the current government is somewhat better than the BJP government, Adivasis and Moolvasis – especially the marginalized – continue to face oppression by the administration and the police. Adivasis and Moolvasis are routinely slapped with cases of 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.

Many people spoke about the illegal mining at Dhajwa Pahad in Pandu, Palamau. Arvind Pal of Dhajwa Pahad Bachao Sangharsh Samiti said that they have been protesting against the illegal mining for the past 87 days, but the administration is yet to listen to those who are protesting. He added that they will keep protesting till the fraudulent lease made for the illegal mining is cancelled. Pushpa Bhogta of Sarv Hara Jan Sangharsh Morcha said that our natural resources are in danger as they are being sold illegally. Bharat Bhushan Chaudhary of Samajwadi Jan Parishad said that the matter of Dhajwa Pahad is 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.  

Many people shared about the cases of human rights violations in their area. Sunil Manjhi of Gomiya (Bokaro) said that his father Sanjay Manjhi was falsely implicated in an earlier case of a Maoist incidence 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.

Lal Mohan Khairwar of Latehar shared that on 12 June 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 and no action has taken place on those responsible for the death,” he said.

Narayan Kandeyag and Ajit Kandeyag of West Singhbhum shared about the cases of human rights violations in Kolhan. On 15 June 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. In this case as well, no FIR has been lodged against the guilty CRPF personnel, nor any compensation has been provided to the victims. On 23 January 2022, the police unleashed violence against innocent villagers in Chaibasa town.   

Adivasi Women’s Network’s Elina Horo talked about the continued incidences 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.

Kumar Chand Mardi of Gaon Ganrajya said that people in Jharkhand have been struggling on one issue or another. People are struggling against illegal mining in Nachosai of East Singhbhum. The state government is yet to prepare rules for PESA, because of which this law is yet to come into force. Hence, we have come in front of the governor’s house today to repeat these demands. Birsa Hembrom of Hul Jharkhand Kranti Dal said that the state government is yet to properly implement the Forest Rights Act and is oppressing those living in forests.

Economist and activist Jean Dreze said that people have gathered here today from many different places to ask the government about its commitment to human rights.

He said that we are demanding withdrawal of all Pathalgadi cases and also removal of CRPF camps in schools. He added that the government has created an atmosphere of fear in the name of security and is doing injustice with people in the name of justice. Praful Linda of Adivasi Adhikar Manch said that 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. Kislay of PUCL said that it is very disturbing that the police and security forces are themselves committing largescale violations of human rights.

Deepak Ranjit, who is active in the ongoing bhasha andolan, said that people removed Raghuvar Das from power in 2019, but the government formed under the JMM leadership has also failed to understand the Jharkhandi sentiments in the ongoing bhasha andolan. Nadeem Khan of AIPF added that many cases of lynching have taken place even under the current government. “The current government needs to be reminded that the previous government was shown the door because of its anti-people attitude,” he said.