New Delhi: At a time when Pathalgarhi-related violence has sent shockwaves through the administration in Jharkhand, a high-ranking bureaucrat has written to all the deputy commissioners of the state to start the process of dropping cases against adivasis convicted or accused in the cases.
On January 19, seven adivasis were killed by Pathalgarhi activists in West Singhbum district of Jharkhand. It is being seen as the first full blown incident of violence committed by adivasis who are trying to impose Pathalgarhi — or the practice of installing a stone tablet outside a village and declaring autonomy — throughout the tribal-dominated areas of the state. Over a dozen people were subsequently arrested in the case, for which Chief Minister Hemant Soren announced a high-level inquiry.
Barely 10 days after the incident, on January 28, a joint secretary in the Home department sent letters to deputy commissioners in all the districts of the state asking them to start the process of dropping charges against those found supporting Pathalgarhi.
Dropping charges against adivasis convicted or charged with sedition-related to Pathalgarhi activities was the first decision announced by the newly-elected Chief Minister soon after he was sworn into power.
In his letter, the joint secretary states that it was decided in a high-level meeting on December 29, last year, that cases against the supporters of Pathalgarhi be taken back. Therefore, details of all such cases registered between January 1, 2015 and December 29, 2019, be compiled.
The letter further states that the cases in which chargesheet has been filed, should be looked into by a three member committee to explore possibilities of taking the cases back. The deputy commissioner, a senior police officer and the public prosecutor should be member of these committees, the letter states.
The decision to drop cases against supporters and leaders of Pathalgarhi has led to a lot of dissatisfaction among security forces, News18 has learnt. Sources within the security establishment and intel agencies told News18 that before the incident of January 19, several briefs were sent to New Delhi and Ranchi informing that Pathalgarhi-related violence was brewing in the state and that the supporters of Pathalgarhi needed to be reined in. Intel agencies have been informing senior leaders that more incidents of violence could result out of charged Pathalgarhi leaders being freed.