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‘Kolhan state violence’: Rights bodies seek governor, CM’s intervention to safeguard innocent tribals from ‘atrocities’

Chaibasa (West Singbhum): A conglomeration of different civil rights groups and social organizations working in West Singbhum district has urged state government as well as the governor to ensure that the poor and innocent tribals don’t face injustice and atrocities by the local administration in the wake of the violence which erupted on Sunday over a fake job recruitment in the name of a separate ‘Kolhan state’. Local police have so far arrested close to 17 people including a CRPF jawan in this case and investigations into the entire episode are underway.

On Tuesday, the social and rights bodies have jointly written separate letters to governor Ramesh Bais and chief minister Hemant Soren and submitted to their offices via deputy commissioner seeking no action against adivasis and innocent villagers, who were apparently duped and lured with fake promises by certain outfits. They have also condemned and accused local administration for failing to control the situation at the first place when ‘illegal’ recruitments and campaign for a separate state was underway for long. At many camps, they claimed that even the local government officials were party to it and attended it.

According to a statement, the outfits said that local administration were well aware that the claimants of a separate state were purportedly selling recruitment forms for long in the region but didn’t act on time. It also claimed that the administration failed to propagate right information among the villagers about the move. “If administration had swung into action, January 23 violence could have been averted,” they noted in their letters.

They added that the reason movement of a ‘separate state’ got mass movement because of two key reasons which the powers-that-be failed to effectively address. They said, “As per the Wilkinson’s rule 1837, tribals were given autonomy over their area. This apart, tribals were long demanding for imposition of their traditional manki-munda rule system, but never sought for a separate nation. However, certain elements have been misinterpreting and misguiding poor and illiterate tribals which led to the flare up.”

The outfits have demanded governor and CM to not act against job-seekers, and tribals who were wrongly influenced for the campaign but identify main culprits behind the entire propaganda to take stringent action. Other demands included, massive awareness drive to sensitise public that the ongoing recruitments for teachers, and police personnel weren’t done by the state government or under the manki-munda governance system; assure people that locals will be given priority in filling vacancies at district levels; take local gram sabha into consent while conceptualizing development plans for the district; and most importantly implementation of the long pending demands of the provisions of PESA act.