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8 Arrested as Movements for Self-Rule Mushroom in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand

News18 had reported in March this year on the movement for self-rule in certain parts of these states wherein tribal communities were hosting Patthargarhi (installation of stone) ceremonies.

News18.com

Updated:May 3, 2018, 5:45 PM IST
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8 Arrested as Movements for Self-Rule Mushroom in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand
At least two dozen villages in Chattisgarh are said to have declared self-rule. (Photo: Suhas Munshi)
New Delhi: At least eight people, including a former IAS officer, have been arrested in Chhattisgarh following a News18 report on the movement for self-rule in certain tribal hamlets of the state and in other states like Jharkhand, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

News18 had reported in March this year on the movement for self-rule in certain parts of these states wherein tribal communities were hosting Patthargarhi (installation of stone) ceremonies. These ceremonies would culminate in the constitution of their own gram sabhas and resolution to boycott elections. The communities have not enrolled for government identification, including voter ID and Aadhaar.

The movement was believed to have spread to Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur, where 10,000 adivasis reportedly participated in Patthargarhi ceremonies over one month. At least two dozen villages in the region are said to have put up boards and tablets declaring self-rule, following which police cases were lodged in Jashpur.

The hub of the movement is said to be Khunti region of Jharkhand. Villages that declared self-rule here had even barred state police and elected representatives from entering, while non-Adivasis too had to seek permission before entering, that too on payment of a toll tax. These villages also have plans to ready a force of vigilantes in case of action by security forces.

Intelligence and administrative officials have their own versions of why this armed rebellion is mushrooming in their areas — officers in Jharkhand claim Patthargarhi to be a front for illegal poppy cultivation aided by Naxals; in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh the political opposition is privately held responsible for using Patthargarhi as a weapon against the parties in power.

But what is similar in all these areas, is that thousands of Adivasis, who often have very little in common with each other, who are angry with being left behind by the state and being pushed around by industries, have found in Patthargarhi a unifying expression of dissent.

Former Chief Justice SN Dhingra has described this movement as a worrying development for the country. “It is unconstitutional, and looks like the beginning for another Naxal-styled movement. The state should have known about it and nipped it in the bud. But the fact that this Patthargarhi drive is going on at this pace is a worrying development for the country.”

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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