Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren douses FIRs on Day One
New chief minister Hemant Soren, chairing his government’s first cabinet meeting on Sunday, decided to withdraw all criminal cases lodged by police against thousands of people over agitations against the previous BJP government’s bid to tweak land tenancy laws and during the pathalgadi movement.
In 2017, Jharkhand saw a spate of protests against the Raghubar Das government’s decision to amend the Chotanagpur and Santhal Pargana tenancy laws to enable the use of farmland for non-agricultural practices. Though the government claimed that proposed amendments — Section 21 of the CNT and Section 13 of the SPT — would strengthen tribal economy and plug loopholes in the age-old tenancy Acts, the widespread protests forced the Das government to roll back the bill.
Between 2017 and 2018, the pathalgadi movement rocked Khunti and its bordering areas as an expression of tribal anger, when villagers put up pathalgadis or stone plaques to assert their rights, specially those related to gram sabhas and land, under the Constitution. The movement turned violent and police reprisal was swift, with thousands of sedition cases slapped on villagers.
Cabinet secretary Ajoy Kumar Singh who briefed the media about Sunday’s cabinet decision said that district administrations concerned had been asked to take necessary action in the light of the decision.
Jobs & courts
In other major decisions, the cabinet decided to start the process to fill up all vacant posts in government departments.
“The cabinet took the decision to start the process of filling up vacant posts in government departments. In another major decision, the cabinet decided to set up fast-track courts in all districts for the trial of sexual assault and related cases against women and minors. For this, additional posts of judicial officials will be created,” said Singh.
The previous government in October had also notified the formation of 22 new fast-track courts for speedy trial and disposal of cases of rape, sexual exploitation, sexual assaults and the like, to be opened in districts where the pending number of such cases were 100 and above.
On Sunday, the cabinet directed all district administration to set up special camps to resolve pending payments to contract employees such as anganwadi workers, para teachers, as well as to pensioners and teachers, and scholarships to students.
The DCs of all districts and municipal commissioners of civic bodies have been asked to distribute blankets and caps among the poor and ensure bonfires are lit at public places.
Singh said the cabinet also discussed an official emblem of Jharkhand to reflect its history, tradition, culture and aspirations. “The government has invited people to propose their ideas,” said Singh.
The cabinet decided on a three-day winter session of the Assembly starting from January 6 next year. Senior JMM MLA Stephen Marandi will be the pro-tem Speaker to conduct the House.
On January 6, elected MLAs will take oath and a day later elect the Speaker. The expenditure report of fiscal 2019-2020 will also be laid before the House on January 7, said the cabinet secretary.