Authorities in East Singhbhum district have directed the opposition JMM to pay a compensation of `32 lakh for burning of two vehicles allegedly by its cadres during a Jharkhand bandh last month to protest changes in two British-era land laws.
Dhalbhum sub-divisional officer Suraj Kumar on Friday sent a notice to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) district unit president Ramdas Soren to this effect. A dumper was burnt in Potka while a 10-wheel truck was set afire in Pipla during the dawn-to-dusk bandh on November 25.
“You are requested to deposit the amount at the district nazarat (treasury) within 30 days of receiving this notice,” read the notice, a copy of which is with the HT.
Sporadic violence marked the bandh to protest amendments made in the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, 1949 by the state’s BJP-led government. The amendments allowed use of agricultural land of tribal people for non-agricultural purposes.
The notice also carried a copy of Jharkhand High Court’s (HC) order on November 24 warning political parties against violence and arson during the bandh.
“Party presidents will have to pay compensation if their workers and supporters are found resorting to vandalism and causing loss of public and private properties during the bandh,” a bench of acting chief justice PK Mohanty and justice Ananda Sen ruled.
Citing district transport officer’s report, the notice asked JMM leader Soren to give `27 lakh to the dumper’s owner and `5 lakh to the truck’s owner.
Soren said the vehicles were running illegally without any valid document. “Moreover, the drivers didn’t file an FIR but police filed FIRs in both the cases. The vehicles were burnt by the administration itself to malign the JMM. And not just the JMM but Congress, JVM-P, JD (U), RJD, CPI – entire opposition was involved in the bandh,” said Soren.
Authorities in West Singhbhum district also issued notice to JMM and Congress district presidents over violence during the shutdown.
“We have served notice to JMM and Congress district presidents for breaking the flank lines of a national highway here. We’ve sought a report from the National Highway Authority of India about estimated loss. Once we get it, the parties will be asked to deposit the compensation amount,” deputy commissioner Shantanu Agrahari told HT on Saturday.