Jharkhand police weigh action against leaders of tribal group for I- Day boycott call
A senior UN official, who allegedly attended the tribal body’s meetings, is also under the police scanner.india Updated: Aug 10, 2017 19:50 IST
Jharkhand police are contemplating legal action against some leaders of the Adivasi Mahasabha, an influential tribal group, for allegedly instigating anti-national activities.
A senior UN official, who allegedly attended the tribal organisation’s meetings, is also under the scanner, police sources said.
Mahasabha for the last few years has been spearheading a campaign against the BJP-led state government’s alleged anti-tribal policies.
On the occasion of the World Indigenous Day on Wednesday, the tribal body allegedly gave a call to boycott Independence Day celebrations and refrain from saluting the Tricolour.
Addressing a public rally at Gopal Maidan in Jamshedpur, some leaders of the organisation also allegedly appealed to the indigenous people to return their voters identity card to the government and banned all forms of elections in tribal areas.
The leaders accused the government of denying indigenous communities the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution, claiming tribal are being treated as “slaves” in the country.
They asked tribal families not to send their children to school for ID celebrations on August 15.
Police and intelligence agencies have videographed the entire proceedings of the meeting and submitted a report to the government suggesting legal action against the leaders.
“This is unacceptable. We cannot allow people to misuse their right to freedom of expression to accomplish their ulterior motives,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.
Jamshedpur senior police superintendent Anoop T Mathew said action would be initiated against the leaders after examining the video.
“If we come across any evidences that could be deemed as anti-national, we would not hesitate to lodge an FIR against them,” he said.
Another police officer said they are also tracking the movement of vice-chairperson of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Fulman Choudhary.
He has been reportedly attending meetings of the tribal bodies where anti-India speeches were made.
Addressing Wednesday’s meeting, Mahasabha general secretary Krishna Hansda accused the state government of victimising tribals by branding them Naxalites or Maoists.
“We want the government to clearly define who is a Maoist and what according to it is Naxalism,” he said.
“In a tribal-dominated state like Jharkhand, the government takes no time to branding anyone who speaks against the establishment as a Maoist or Naxalite and pushes them behind bars. The tribals are deprived of their rights to express their views democratically,” he added.
Another Mahasabha leader Krishna Hansda claimed tribals are not free in Jharkhand.
“They (tribal people) are forced to follow systems that are detrimental to their interests. The constitution has given certain rights and privileges to indigenous people, but the government doesn’t want to follow them. Hence, there is no point for tribals to participate in Independence Day celebrations,” he said.
The BJP government here had recently amended two century-old tenancy laws that prohibited the government from acquiring agricultural land owned by tribal people for non-agricultural purposes.
The Mahasabha took the lead opposing the bills, prompting the governor to suggest their repeal.
The tribal body recently declared non-cooperation movement against the government by rejecting government schemes and programmes.
It also prohibited entry of non-tribals in the tribal villages.