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Transport trouble today

Ranchi, Feb. 4: JMM supremo Shibu Soren’s assurance that they would adequately compensate Sabita Mahto — late party leader Sudhir Mahto’s widow whose name was withdrawn as a Rajya Sabha nominee in favour of RJD’s Prem Chand Gupta — has failed to placate Kurmis and Mahtos, who will go ahead with their statewide chakka jam tomorrow.

Kurmi Vikas Morcha (KVM), the politically active outfit of Mahto-Kurmi caste that took out a torchlight procession from Ranchi University and convened a huge gathering at Firayalal Chowk this evening, said they would not allow any vehicle to ply on the road except essential services ones like ambulances.

“It’s an insult to the Kurmi community and to Sudhir Mahto’s widow. We are treated as a mere vote bank. Tomorrow’s transport strike will be massive. Jharkhand Disom Party, Adivashi-Moolvasi Chhatra Morcha and other Kurmi outfits have supported our agitation,” declared Sheetal Ohdar, president of KVM.

“In the Rajya Sabha election, an outsider and money power were given preference over a local person, whose family had made immense sacrifices for the separate statehood movement. Our party supports the agitation,” said Salkhan Murmu of Jharkhand Disom Party said.

Jharkhand People’s Party chief Suraj Singh Besra has also extended support.

Several private schools in the state capital like Sarala Birla Public School at Tatisilwai, Delhi Public School, SAIL Township, and Cambrian School, Kanke Road, would stay shut tomorrow in view of the inconvenience that students are likely to face.

Kairali School principal R. Varghese said the practical examinations of Class XII would take place, while classes would be suspended.

Three JMM MLAs — Mathura Prasad Mahto, Vidyut Baran Mahto and Jagannath Mahto — who had handed over their resignation letters to Soren, but are yet to withdraw officially from the Assembly offered varied response when asked whether they were supporting the Kurmis’ protest.

While Mathura Mahto remained tight-lipped, Vidyut Baran Mahto said: “I am part of the JMM and I am not supporting them. Calling a chakka jam is the decision of a group and I have nothing to do with it,” he said.

Jagannath Mahto was more forthcoming.

“I am part of the Kurmi community and will extend moral support to the strike. The Sabita Mahto episode has deeply disturbed us. A day after tomorrow, we have a meeting where the next course of our action will be decided,” Mahto said.

Police have made elaborate arrangements. “Police forces, including Quick Reaction Team, will be deployed across the district. Every police station has been alerted,” said Ranchi SSP Bhim Sen Tuti.