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Opposition counts on tribal power for total shutdown

Opposition parties, led by Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) chief Babulal Marandi, have called for a complete shutdown in the state on Monday in protest against the Centre’s land acquisition bill. The bandh is also receiving huge support from tribal bodies. Dayamani Barla, the state convener of Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Rakchha Manch, said they would put up blockades on the railway tracks in Ranchi on Monday. “The tribals are dead opposed to the land bill,” she added.

The opposition parties carried out small rallies in different parts of the state to mobilize their workers in all districts to make the bandh successful. RJD, JD (U), CPI, CPI (ML), Samajwadi Party and Forward Bloc along with more than 15 political parties are supporting the bandh. Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) have extended moral support to the bandh. The Congress and JMM workers, however, will not come out on the streets to enforce the bandh.Marandi has appealed to the general public to support the bandh to tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi that people do not like the Land Acquisition Bill he is pushing for.

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“It (Bill) is an attempt of the government to snatch people’s land and hand it over to the corporates at throwaway prices,” Marandi said ahead of the bandh.Several tribal bodies are also supporting Monday’s statewide bandh. JVM-P town president Rajiv Ranjan Mishra said, “Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Rakchha Manch, Adivasi Moolvasi Chhatra Sangh, Advasi Janparishad, Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch and several other tribal organizations are supporting the bandh.”

A strong tribal leader and former minister, Bandhu Tirkey, who is also supporting the bandh, said, “They (tribals) are dependent on land and forest for their livelihood. Jharkhand was made a separate state to safeguard the tribals’ interests and not to take away their land, thereby rendering them homeless.” Tirkey said thousands of tribals have been evicted from their land in the pretext of development projects. DGP D K Pandey has instructed all SPs to make necessary arrangements to ensure that the bandh enforcers do not turn violent and vandalize public property. All SPs held special meetings on Sunday to chart out anti-bandh measures. The districts will deploy additional security personnel for the day. Anti-riot vehicles, water canons and rapid action forces will also be deployed at sensitive zones.

Police spokesperson S N Pradhan said all the districts have been alerted. “Senior officers would be monitoring the situation, magistrates would be deployed in specific areas,” Pradhan said.A police officer in the special branch said chances of chaos is high during the bandh. “The protesters would target highways, urban centres and public transport and block rail routes. It is also likely that people trying to defy bandh will face the ire of the protesters,” the officer said.


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