Jharkhand shutdown on Saturday against domicile policy

Ranchi, May 13 (IANS) All opposition parties and tribal and Moolvasi organisations in Jharkhand are supporting a call for a state-wide shutdown on Saturday to protest against the domicile policy announced by the Raghubar Das government.

The shutdown has been called by the main opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and has the support of the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajantantrik (JVM-P) of Babulal Marandi is also supporting the shutdown.

Even the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has developed a rift over the issue as reflected in former chief minister’s Arjun Munda’s objections to the domicile policy.

“There will be compete shutdown. We will protest peacefully. The state government has been trying to suppress peoples’ voice. The shutdown has been called to protect the rights of the tribal and Moolvasi people,” JMM’s General Secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya told IANS.

Heavy security arrangements have been made to prevent the possibility of violence during the shutdown. The state police is ready with water canons and rubber bullets to deal with the protesters.

Many politicians have been issued notices under Section 107 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC) to show cause why they should not be ordered to execute a bond for keeping the peace.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, which empowers a magistrate to prohibit an assembly of more than 10 people in an area, have been imposed.

Some college examinations scheduled on Saturday have been postponed.

The domicile policy was notified in April by the state’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government consisting of BJP and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).

According to the policy, anyone living in the state for 30 years and possessing immovable assets is to be considered a resident of Jharkhand.

Also to be deemed residents are people living on boundary of the state who have their name or their forefathers’ name figuring in last land record and those who are landless but speak local language and Gram Sabhas identifies them as local residents.

Any person living in Jharkhand for the last 30 years for any purpose and possessing immovable assets will also be deemed a resident of the state.

Anyone employed by the state government, central government, board, corporation will be resident of the state. A person born in Jharkhand and passing class 10 examination in the state will also be a resident.

Critics have strongly objected to the criteria of immovable assets and passing class 10 in Jharkhand.

“What if someone illegally acquired land 30 years ago? Providing them benefits of residentship will hurt the interests of the tribals and Moolvasis,” said BJP leader Arjun Munda.

Damage to the interests of the tribal and Moolvasi people is the main plank of the opposition to the domicile policy.

Other former chief ministers who have opposed the policy are Hemant Soren (JMM), Babulal Marandi (JVM-P) and Madhu Koda.

The tribals make up 27 percent of Jharkhand’s population and Mahto community, which comes under Moolvasis, constitutes about 14 percent.

–IANS

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