Monday, 30th October 2017

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Pathalgadi leader nabbed from Delhi

Seraikela-Kharsawan police on Saturday night arrested Vijay Kujur, 42, the alleged mastermind of Jharkhand's " pathalgadi movement", from Mahipalpur in Delhi where he was hiding at a relative's home.

By VIJAY DEO JHA in Ranchi
  • Published 19.03.18
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STONE RAGE: Kochang villagers in Khunti during a pathalgadi event on March 6

Ranchi: Seraikela-Kharsawan police on Saturday night arrested Vijay Kujur, 42, the alleged mastermind of Jharkhand's " pathalgadi movement", from Mahipalpur in Delhi where he was hiding at a relative's home.

National working president of Adivasi Mahasabha, originally set up to safeguard tribal rights but leaning towards secessionism by misusing the pathalgadi symbol, Kujur is an educated tribal man from Namkum who reportedly works as a manager at Shipping Corporation of India in Calcutta.

Wanted in at least five pathalgadi cases, two in Seraikela-Kharsawan and three in Khunti, Kujur was arrested at 11pm on Saturday and flown from Delhi to Calcutta on Sunday morning, taken to Seraikela-Kharsawan by road and produced before a lower court in the evening from where he was remanded in judicial custody.

Instrumental in reviving Adivasi Mahasabha in 2016, Kujur has been inciting tribals to defy the Constitution through pathalgadi since last year.

Seraikela-Kharsawan police nabbed him for holding at least two pathalgadi ceremonies - marking sites free from government rule and propagating self-rule by gram sabhas - at Kathbora and Jamdoha villages in Ichagarh thana in October 2017.

FIRs were lodged against him under Sections 153A (to create hatred among people on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 504 (intentional insult with intent to breach peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 109 (abetment), 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 117 (abetting offence by more than 10 persons), 186 (obstructing a public servant from duty), 290 (public nuisance ) and other relevant sections of the IPC.

A man at the forefront of protests against Chotanagpur and Santhal Pargana tenancy Acts, Kujur hit headlines as a pathalgadi leader in August 2017 in Khunti when he stopped a police team of SDPO Ranbir Kumar Singh from breaking tribal barricades around a pathalgadi site. The police team was taken hostage by Kujur and his supporters.

"He was wanted by police in two cases at Ichagarh thana for provoking people to defy the Constitution and creating social disharmony. Arrest warrants were issued against him. We were carrying raids at his possible hideouts in Calcutta," said Seraikela-Kharsawan SP Chandan Kumar Sinha.

A policeman said during interrogation Kujur was quiet when asked why rebels were not stopped but police and government servants were.

Kujur had not attended his Calcutta office since over a month and a half, after police arrested his close aide Krishna Hansda, the policeman said. His wife reportedly works in Tata Steel, Jamshedpur.

"Kujur provokes people to ban outsiders from entering villages so that government and security forces can't work. This is conspiracy of likeminded forces such as rebels and opium smugglers," a cop said.