Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das is facing a unique form of protest by local tribals, disgruntled over his government’s alleged anti-tribal decisions and policies. Now, every time he pays homage to tribal freedom fighters, local tribal outfits “purify” the place, claiming that his presence had polluted the “holy area”.
A tribal community purified Birsa Pahari on Tuesday in Jamshedpur East, home constituency of Das, after he garlanded the Birsa Munda statue in the area during a programme a day before. It was the second such event custom in last two months in Kolhan division after CM’s visit.
In January this year, tribals had purified Kharsawan Shahid Sthal claiming that the CM had desecrated the site by paying homage to the martyrs on January 1. They also charged Das with taking anti tribal decisions, including CNT-SPT amendment Act.
Tribals have been organizing protests against the CM for his government’s approach towards tribal laws, including amendment in Chhotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act. Tribal leaders claimed that Das has been taking steps to deprive them from those rights that Birsa Munda and other leaders had secured after much struggle and sacrifice.
A group of around 100 youths under the banner of Birsa Seva Dal (BSD) rushed to Birsa Pahari in Birsanagar on Tuesday. They purified the statue and the pahari with water and put mud on the plaque, inaugurated by the CM on Monday.
Das had inaugurated the pahari after its beautification and garlanded Birsa Munda statue to pay homage.
Senior leader of the BSD, Kunjan Lakra said, “By garlanding the Birsa Munda’s statute, the CM has disrespected the leader who sacrificed his life for the rights of tribals. It was Munda’s struggle that ensured the CNT and SPT Acts for tribals. With amendments to these two laws and paving the way for purchase of tribal land by general public, Das has taken steps to deprive tribals of their rights. He is hatching a conspiracy to end tribal existence in Jharkhand”.
The state government, in December 2016, passed the CNT-SPT amendment Act Bill allowing acquisition of tribal lands for development and welfare works in Jharkhand.
After the purification custom, the district police rushed to the site to control the situation. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders also visited the site and cleaned the mud over the plaque.
BJP leaders said a group of local residents in CM’s home constituency are trying to create differences among tribals and non-tribals.