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Parties rally for tribals

Ranchi, Oct. 10: Left parties and Jharkhand Disom Party today threw their weight behind tribals and farmers, urging them not to part with land at any cost.

Top-ranking leaders of the parties even suggested the farmers to take back such vacant plots that had been acquired from them by the government for various projects, but are not being used for that particular purpose.

Addressing a rally at Morabadi grounds in the state capital, senior CPI leader A.B. Bardhan, one of the pioneers of the Left movement in India, warned that the poor tribals would be ruined if they vacated their plots.

“Tribals have always been struggling. Today, they are being traumatised in the name of anti-Naxalite operations. In a Chhattisgarh village, mothers were recently stripped by police personnel when they sought permission to go home to breastfeed their newborns. Natives of over 64 villages were displaced by HEC alone,” said Bardhan to a gathering of 10,000.

Although the rally’s “official” objective was to evoke mass consciousness against displacement caused by land acquisition, it was clear that the politicians wanted to build a support base for the next Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. Leaders of CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc, RSP, MCC and JDP targeted both UPA and NDA heavyweights, claiming that these parties not only patronised corruption, but were also solely responsible for the sorry state of affairs in Jharkhand. They also did not spare small regional parties like Ajsu, JVM and JMM.

“In 1973, the red and green (read MCC and JMM) had united at this very Morabadi grounds and given a call for a separate state. Today also, the red and green (read Left and JDP) have united and we will fight for abua disom, abua raj (my village, our rule),” said JDP chief Salkhan Murmu.

However, very few in the crowd, which had to brave the bad weather to reach Morabadi grounds, had actually lost their land.

“I am attending the rally as it has been organised by my party,” said Surendra Mistry from Dumka.

On the other hand, Champa Devi and Basmatia Devi of Dumka’s Kanko village admitted that earlier, they were associated with the Congress and had recently joined the Left. However, they could not tell the names of the parties that had called the rally.

“If we had land as a source of livelihood, would we have come here? But I have heard that my forefathers had given away land for the Maithon dam,” the duo chorused.