BJP violates constitution and misrules in Jharkhand, claims civil society

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Ranchi: Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and peoples’ organisations, challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to fight the upcoming Vidhan Sabha election in Jharkhand, on issues of people and not on Hindu nationalism and jingoism.

Mahasabha which has been raising many socio-economic issues in Jharkhand in recent times, ranging from major loopholes in welfare schemes to hunger deaths to mob lynchings, to amendments made in Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) and Santhan Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Acts, to formation of Land Banks and many other issues, organized a press conference in Ranchi to not just make strong objections to the politics of BJP, which has majority in Jharkhand assembly for these five years but did not use it for the betterment of state and only tried to implement the Hindutva agenda as well as helping crony capitalism to grow in Jharkhand.

It also put its demands before the ruling party and opposition before the forthcoming assembly polls in Jharkhand.

Mahasabha issued a detailed press communiqué which mentioned most of the issues Jharkhand is reeling under. “Jharkhand’s current government, headed by Raghubar Das led BJP is the first government of the state to last a full term. This was an opportunity to put the state on a new track and bring about equitable development; instead, five years of BJP rule have perpetuated the regime of corruption and anti-people development embraced by successive governments in Jharkhand since 2000. Betraying the people’s mandate, the BJP used its political stability to bulldoze Hindutva ideology and pro-corporate policies,” read the communiqué.

“But these amendments enabled the government to acquire land for Adani’s power plant in Godda without the consent of Adivasi landowners,” it pointed out.

Mahasabha’s letter begins by addressing the land amendment issue, “Soon after assuming office, BJP government tried to amend the CNT and SPT Acts that provide protection to people’s land. It was aimed to enable the sale of agricultural land for commercial purpose and ease land acquisition for infrastructure projects. The government was forced to abort these efforts in the face of massive protests across the state.”

“But these amendments enabled the government to acquire land for Adani’s power plant in Godda without the consent of Adivasi landowners,” it pointed out.

The communiqué further read, “The BJP government’s policy of earmarking common lands (such as rivers/rivulets, village roads, ponds, places of worship and burial grounds) is also an attempt to provide land to the corporates without the consent of Gram Sabhas. It is not surprising that despite majority, neither did the government notify rules for PESA nor did it implement the provisions of fifth schedule in letter and spirit.”

It claimed that over the past five years, Jharkhand also witnessed the lynching of at least 21 persons, under the present regime, “Of these victims, ten Muslims and three Adivasis were beaten to death in the name of cow protection or religion.”

The letter also mentioned how hate crime against minorities has gone up by many fold during BJP government in the past five years. “Another defining character of this government has been the regular attacks on minorities and attempts at religious polarization. BJP and its parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have constantly tried to bring Adivasis under the Hindutva fold by wrongly proclaiming them to be part of Hindu (Sanatan) religion. The 2017 was used by the government to deepen the divide between Sarna and Christian Adivasis,” the letter mentioned.

It claimed that over the past five years, Jharkhand also witnessed the lynching of at least 21 persons, under the present regime, “Of these victims, ten Muslims and three Adivasis were beaten to death in the name of cow protection or religion.”

Mahasabha also alleged of Jharkhand police being complicit in most of the hate crimes, as well as, “Two senior BJP leaders (including Jayant Sinha) even garlanded some of the accused. Many victims who survived the beating were further harassed by being booked under the Cow Slaughter Prevention Act.”

The letter also prominently highlighted how the decision of Raghubar government to link Aadhaar with various social welfare schemes eventually lead to a number of starvation deaths in Jharkhand.

“The last five years we have witnessed attacks being made on people’s welfare rights. Lakhs of ration cards were cancelled for not being linked with Aadhaar. But what wreaked havoc was the linking of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication with the Public Distribution System (PDS). Lakhs of eligible families were left outside the ambit of the PDS. The government is yet to update the ration card lists (based on 2011 socio-economic caste census). About half of the state’s elderly, single women and persons with disabilities are not covered under the social security pension schemes,” mentioned the letter.

“We have organized this conference to debunk the claims being made by the government. We want BJP to contest the upcoming election on the basis of work done by them and issues that plague the common man and not on hyper- nationalism and religion driven politics,” reasoned Taranmani why they have challenged the government.

Taramani Sahu, one of the social activists who briefed the media told eNewsroom, “The present government hasn’t really been public friendly. They haven’t delivered what they were expected to.”

“We have organized this conference to debunk the claims being made by the government. We want BJP to contest the upcoming election on the basis of work done by them and issues that plague the common man and not on hyper- nationalism and religion driven politics,” reasoned Taranmani why they have challenged the government.

She added, “All that has been done is some work related to construction of some toilets in rural area and houses being made under Pradhan Mantri Awaz Yojna. Barring that not much has been done. NREGA is in shambles. Chronic delay in payment has made it difficult for the poor to benefit from the scheme. Employment of people from Adivasi and Dalit community under NREGA has fallen from 50% to 36% in the last five years. These failures have led to 22 starvation death. ”

The mahasabha also highlighted that Jharkhand has also witnessed a rise in unemployment, “Lakhs of Jharkhandis who worked in the unorganized sector lost their jobs after demonetization. The government failed to fill thousands of vacancies in government jobs. The, enacted by this dispensation, further worsened the unavailability of employment for Adivasis and Moolvasis (original inhabitants) of the state.”

“This government expects people to quietly accept their economic insecurity; it recently lathi-charged on Anganwadi workers demanding better remuneration and regularization of their contractual jobs,” the letter mentioned.

They also chose to highlight the Pathalgadi movement, which is at its peak in Jharkhand. “Repression of political rights and civil liberties saw significant rise under the BJP. Several people who opposed amendments to the land laws were beaten and booked; a few were even shot to death. At least 14000 people have been wrongly charged with in Pathalgadi villages of Khunti. Activists and intellectuals were booked for sedition merely for their Facebook posts in which they questioned the state excesses in Pathalgadi villages,” it mentioned.

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In recent times, people-centric journalism is being done mostly by independent digital media. These organizations run on public support. Founded in 2017, eNewsroom India has been doing meaningful stories for over four years now. We practice ‘Old School Journalism’ and focus on under-reported stories from Bengal, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan regularly. Our opinion pieces come from across the country.

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