'Jan Daavedaari Rally' in Giridih

ON 8 September, a ‘Jan Daavedaari Rally’ (Rally for people’s assertion) was called by CPI(ML) in Giridih in Jharkhand. This rally was an expression of peoples' anger against recent attacks on tribals, minorities and dalits, state repression, land grab and pro-corporate policies.

In recent times in Jharkhand, two peasants were killed and many injured in police firing at anti-land-grab protesters in Gola of Ramgarh district. A Muslim woman Saleha Khatun of Katamsandi block was brutally beaten up along with her father and brother by cow vigilante goons when they were transporting their own cattle to her mother's home. Cow goons also obstructed a vehicle carrying a camel in an attempt to foment a riot in Birni block last month. The Jharkhand Government is encouraging such bigotry daily.

Now, the Government is organizing Kamal (lotus) clubs in panchayats. This is a transparently political and communal ploy: the lotus is the BJP’s political symbol, associated by the party with the Hindu faith. Why is the Jharkhand Government not naming the clubs after the beautiful palaash (Flame of the Forest) flowers which best evoke Jharkhand’s own forests and culture? Or after the adivasi anti-colonial warriors Siddho and Kano, or after Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh? The answer is that the BJP feels threatened by the legacy of these fighters since they themselves have betrayed anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles and have upheld social oppression. That is why they are out now to saffronise Jharkhand’s ethos.

Munna Das of Tisri block was stripped and brutally beaten by cow-goons, two Muslims including a teenager were killed and hanged from a tree in Latehar. A dalit Rupesh Swansi was killed police custody in Ranchi. A dalit girl was harassed inside a police station in Manika. A dalit youth, his wife and mother were killed because he married a woman from a different caste. When a dalit woman could not pay the debt to a local usurer she was stripped and 'arrested' in a room. There are reports of murders and rapes of adivasi girl students.

Lands are being acquisitioned in a state where 37.69 percent population is already landless and almost one million acres of bhoodan lands remain undistributed. There is no land redistribution for the poor and CNT and SPT Acts meant to protects tribals' rights are being diluted, huge tracts of lands are being given to corporates like Adani and Ambani. The BJP's Raghuvar Das government deprived thousands of minority students from pre-metric scholorships and dalit and tribal students' quotas are generally not filled up. Moreover, in absence of any relief huge numbers from Jharkhand are forced to migrate as unorganised labourers from the state.

This Davedaari rally saw an outpour of people who successfully made their voices heard with spirited sloganeering of – “Zameen, Rozgaar, ration ke liye hallabol” (Assert for land, employment and Right to Food), “Hooliganism in the name of Bharat Mata will not be tolerated”, “Stop hooliganism in the name of cow protection”, “Those who are friends of Ambani and Adani are the traitors of the nation”, “Go away saffron government, we will fight for our rights”, among others. Thousands of people holding colourful banners and placards flooded the streets of Giridih as they marched in town. The rally was led by district secretary Manoj Bhakt, CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav, former MLA Vinod Singh and other leaders. After taking a round of the entire city, the rally culminated in a public meeting in Circus Maidan.

Addressing the meeting, Rajkumar Yadav said that the Raghuvar government had allowed the corporates to loot the land, forests and minerals according to their whims and fancies and this has led to a threat looming on the very existence of Jharkhand. In order to ensure this, the anti-Jharkhand domicile policy has already been introduced. Further, on the pretext of putting an end to wrongful settlement, a plan to snatch the raiyat tribal land and the gair-majrua land on which mainly Dalits and tribals are residing, is being implemented.

Vinod Singh criticised forces like JVM-Babulal, JMM, AJSU who have been playing power brokers and forming alliances with companies to increase the assaults on the displaced people in entire Jharkhand. They are working as B-teams of the BJP.

At the end of the meeting, district secretary Manoj Bhakt declared that on 15 September, massive block level mobilizations will be undertaken on the issue of land and food rights. Comrade Usman Ansari presided over the rally.

The block level mobilisations were accomplished with increased vigour at all the block headquarters in the district on 15 September under the banners of CPI(ML) and All Indian Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM). Demonstrations and mass meetings were held at Bagodar, Saria, Birni, Raj Dhanwar, gama, Tisri, Jamua, Bengabad and Giridih blocks. The demands of house and PDS cards to every dalit and poor and distribution of lands were raised in these rallies. Issues of employments under MNREGA, widow pensions and other local issues were also raised.

The detention of Gujarat's dalit movement leader Jignesh Mevani was condemned in these protests.


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