The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Spectre of bandh showdown looms

Ranchi, Sept. 8: The threat issued by over 10 organisations to hit the streets against the September 20 state bandh called by the Jharkhand Disom Party has put the administration on edge.

The bandh has been called to oppose Jharkhand High Court’s orders on domicile and reservation policies and to demand 90 per cent rights for tribals and moolvasis in government jobs, contracts, education and business.

The authorities apprehend a situation similar to that on July 24 when violence broke out in several parts of the state over the domicile and reservation issues.

Bandh opponents, including the Chatra Yuva Sangharsh Samity, the Yuva Sangharsh Samity, the Bihari Sena, the Upekshit Yuva Manch, the Jharkhand Shanti Sena, the Rajiv Vikas Manch, the Chatra Yuva Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti and the Ranchi Nagrik Manch, have also warned the government of “direct action” if the bandh supporters resorted to violence.

Representatives of these organisations met today in the state capital and have sent letters to the state government and the Centre, demanding that the Jharkhand Disom Party be banned under the anti-terrorism law.

They have also sought the immediate arrest of the BJP member of Parliament, Salkhan Murmu, who heads the Disom Party.

“The BJP is patronising Murmu who is out to create a divide between the tribals and the non-tribals in the state. Ever since Jharkhand was born, the BJP MP from Mayurbhanj has been instrumental in sparking social unrest,” said Uday Shankar Ojha of the Chatra Yuva Sangharsh Samity.

The student body said the BJP’s “hidden agenda” is responsible for the social unrest in the state. “Murmu has been daring the BJP high command to expel him from the party. But the senior functionaries of the party are reluctant to take any action against him. This is for the first time that a BJP parliamentarian has called for a bandh against the judiciary,” Ojha said.

The student wing has called a meeting on Tuesday to set a deadline for the state government to arrest Murmu and ban the Disom Party. All the organisations opposed to the bandh are scheduled to attend the meeting after which fax messages would be sent to the Centre on the situation of the state.

“On one hand, chief minister Babulal Marandi is spending crores to hold roadshows in Mumbai for attracting investments in the state. On the other, a BJP member of Parliament is destroying the social fabric of the state and creating a serious law and order problem,” said a spokesperson for the Bihari Sena.

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