The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Domicile protest up in smoke

Nov. 30: Attempts by pro-domicile supporters to hold the capital to ransom was today foiled when more than 80 activists belonging to the Adivasi Moolvasi Janadhikar Manch (AMJM) were arrested for violating prohibitory orders.

The activists were protesting against the quashing of the state’s domicile policy by Jharkhand High Court. The high court had on November 27 struck down the policy, terming it “hostile discrimination of the public at large”

Since early morning today, police and paramilitary forces maintained vigil throughout the capital after the AMJM threatened to storm Ranchi in protest against “the anti-people judgment” of Jharkhand High Court.

Manch activists had said yesterday that students from various colleges would gather in Ranchi, armed with traditional weapons, and hold a rally in front of the office of the commissioner, South Chhotanagpur, to voice their protest against the judgment.

Though manch activists arrived at the dharna venue in batches, police personnel ensured that the activists were promptly whisked away from the site.

Ranchi senior superintendent of police M.V. Rao told The Telegraph that there was no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the capital.

Among those arrested included the manch’s working president, Bandhu Tirkey, along with leaders Raja Ram Mahato, Renuka Ekka, John Kujur, Belas Tirkey and Pratul Nath Shahdeo. All the arrested activists were detained at Birsa Stadium at the Morahabadi complex.

Bandhu Tirkey told reporters after his arrest that they would not take the orders of Jharkhand High Court “lying down as the verdict went against the interests of tribals”. He alleged that the state government was hand in glove with the judiciary in denying tribals their right. He added that in the new state, tribals were within their rights to demand a greater share of the “fruits of freedom”.

In a memorandum to Jharkhand Governor M. Rama Jois, the manch demanded a special debate on granting domicile status, with 1932 as the cut-off year, in the Jharkhand Assembly and its resolution be forwarded to the Lok Sabha for being made into an Act.

BJP parliamentarian from Mayurbhanj and founder of the Jharkhand Disom Party Salkhan Murmu has called for a state bandh on December 9 in protest against the high court verdict. Murmu said in Jamshedpur that the verdict was a “big blow to the existence of Adivasis and moolvasis (original habitants), who constitutes the majority of population in the state”.

“Adivasis and moolvasis are getting frustrated due to the confusion prevailing over reservation and domicile issues. The high court verdict has brought the legislature and judiciary at loggerheads and further worsened the plight of tribals,” Murmu said.

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