The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Protest put off after Koda promise
Bandh no more

Ranchi, Jan. 30: The Congress, Jharkhand Janadhikar Party (JJP), Jharkhand Swashashan Shashaktikaran Manch (JSSM) and Adivasi Chhatra Sangh leaders today called off the bandh in Ranchi, slated for tomorrow, following assurances from the chief minister of “protecting tribal rights in the state at all cost”.

The leaders further announced that they were putting on hold all agitations for the next three months to give an opportunity to chief minister Madhu Koda to “correct the mistakes of two previous tribal BJP chief ministers”.

Early today, a delegation of tribal leaders, comprising former Congress MLAs Deo Kumar Dhan and Sawna Lakra, JJP vice-president Ratan Tirkey, JSSM convener Joy Baxla and others called on Koda at his residence and handed over a memorandum demanding the re-inclusion of both Ranchi and Jamshedpur into the Schedule V.

The memorandum pointed out that both Ranchi and Jamshedpur, which were within the Scheduled Areas order of 1977, were excluded from the schedule in 2003 “due to some mistake”.

It added that even the Bihar State Reorganisation Act, 2000, provided that Ranchi and Jamshedpur were a part of the Scheduled Areas order of 1977. The memorandum demanded that since the President has the powers under Schedule V to rescind any orders made under the schedule, fresh orders redefining the scheduled areas may be issued, in consultation with the governor, to correct the previous mistake.

Later, talking to newspersons, Dhan said Koda had assured them that his government would not allow any changes in the list of the 1977 order.

He alleged that though the state has had two tribal chief ministers, these leaders failed to protect tribal interests “as part of a large conspiracy”.

“The chief minister said that he has already written, and even spoken, to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi for re-inclusion of Ranchi in the list of scheduled areas. In case of Jamshedpur, he assured us of writing to the governor in a day or two, demanding re-inclusion of the steel city in the scheduled areas, too,” Dhan said.

The former Congress MLA revealed that they also had held a meeting under the chairmanship of deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi, in which they unanimously agreed to press for the inclusion of Ranchi and Jamshedpur in the list of scheduled areas.

Following an assurance from the chief minister, Dhan said they have decided to call off the proposed Ranchi bandh and put on hold agitations for the next three months.

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