In 1st Major Decision, Hemant Soren Govt Withdraws Cases Against Pathalgarhi Activists & CNT-SPT Act Protesters
Jharkhand Chief Minister designate Hemant Soren arrives for his swearing-in ceremony at Morahabadi ground in Ranchi on Sunday (PTI)
Ranchi: In its first cabinet decision, the Jharkhand government on Sunday initiated action to withdraw all cases registered against tribals involved in Pathalgarhi movement and those who took part in protests after the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act were amended.
The move came soon after JMM leader Hemant Soren took oath as Jharkhand chief minister for a second time at a grand ceremony attended by a galaxy of opposition leaders and regional satraps, in a show of unity that could be a harbinger of a broad-based anti-BJP alliance amid the uproar over the new citizenship law.
The Raghubar Das government had hit on the sentiments of the tribals when it amended two land acts — Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) and Chotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNT) — in 2016.
The amendments were passed in the Assembly apparently without discussion amid uproar by the opposition parties, following which several memorandums were submitted to the governor to not sign the amendments.
Jharkhand witnessed large scale protests over the issue as the amendments proposed to acquire land for development projects, which claimed to "protect the land of the tribal people of the state".
The protesters were denied buses to reach the protest venues and the police was instructed to stop the protesters from entering Ranchi. The entire opposition, particularly the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), protested inside and outside the Assembly against the amendments.
The state also saw an armed exclusionary movement taking shape last year in the form of Pathalgarhi movement, where thousands of villages were turned into an autonomous region. Some called it 'adivasi corridor', others called it 'Adivasistan'.
The region was declared autonomy from India by placing a special stone outside villages. These villages ran their own schools where children, forced out of government schools, were being fed propaganda.
Chaired by Soren and attended by three of his ministers who took oath earlier in the day, the cabinet also decided to clear arrears of para-teachers, contractual employees, aanganwadi workers and student scholarships.
Directions have been issued to fill-up vacancies in government departments, the release said, adding, fast track courts would to be set up in every district to speed up trials of cases relating to sexual offences.
The first cabinet of the Hemant Soren government decided to convene a three-day session of the assembly from January 6. Senior JMM MLA Stephen Marandi, who was named as pro-tem speaker, will conduct the first House till a regular Speaker is elected.