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Nagri activist Barla gets bail

Ranchi, Dec. 21: Jharkhand High Court today granted bail to tribal activist Dayamani Barla, who has been in jail for over two months for leading protests against acquisition of land in Nagri by the state government.

Barla was taken into custody for leading a protest involving tribal farmers, defying the government’s acquisition of 227 acres of “agricultural” land in Nagri village on the outskirts of the capital for setting up permanent campuses of IIM-Ranchi, IIIT and National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL).

The activist, on August 15, allegedly led nearly 200 people to the construction site of the law school and planted paddy saplings to mark their protest.

An FIR was registered by Nagri police against Barla, accusing the activist of committing offences of criminal trespass, leading an unlawful assembly and obstructing the duty of a public officer.

She was also accused of damaging the boundary wall of NUSRL, with the villagers supporting her.

Barla was arrested on October 19 and remanded in Birsa Munda Central Jail the very next day.

Barla made an appearance before the judicial magistrate today, as she was brought from Birsa Munda jail to the civil court. But though the high court granted her bail, Barla is likely to come out of jail only tomorrow after conditions imposed by the high court are complied with.

The high court has ordered her release for two sureties of Rs 10,000 each.

Barla was also implicated in another case registered in 2006 against her for leading an agitation demanding job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme or unemployment allowance in villages of Angara block in Ranchi district.

On that occasion, she had also led a successful protest against setting up of an ArcelorMittal plant on 11,000 acres in Gumla and Khunti districts citing clauses under Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act, which prohibits sale of tribal land to non-tribals.

Barla is also wanted in a contempt case initiated by the high court for taking part in a demonstration staged by Jharkhand Dishom Party leader Salkhan Murmu on October 4. The party workers are accused of burning an effigy and poster of the high court.

On October 16, Barla was sent to jail for the 2006 case and granted bail days later, before she was re-arrested.


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