Protests for Land, Employment and Livelihood Issues in Jharkhand

A people’s demonstration on issues faced by the rural poor was held under the leadership of the CPI(ML) Ranchi district committee at Chanho Block on 22 December 2017. Despite proper notice being given to the officials, the BDO declared the protest demonstration illegal and ordered the venue to be vacated, after which the angry people gheraoed the BDO office for 3 hours. The protesters’ demands were: withdraw the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill 2017; Revenue (Malgujari) receipts for the farmers with occupancy on gairmajrua lands; end DBT and biometric system for ration distribution; full loan waiver; all poor families to come under BPL list; implement MNREGA with regular work and proper wages. Prior to the gherao, a rally was taken out with banners and slogans from the Petrol Tank Garden through the Bazaar, culminating in the meeting at the Block HQ.

Similarly, a dharna protest was organized under the leadership of the CPI(ML) and Kisan Mahasabha at Barha Block in Hazaribagh district on 27 December on land issues. The following issues were raised at the dharna: end loot of gairmajrua and farmers’ land for Raghuvar government’s land banks; land for the landless; recognition as Raiyat land for government, bandobasti, bhoodaan, and long-cultivated gairmajrua lands; ration cards, regular and sufficient ration-kerosene, old age pension and other benefits for the poor.

On the occasion of Santhal Paragana Foundation Day on 22 December 2017 a Rights Rally (Adhikar Rally) was taken out under the joint banners of CPI(ML), AIPWA and Jharkhand Pradesh Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sanyojika Adhyaksh Sangh from Gandhinagar in Dumka. The rally marched through Dumka town and garlanded the statue of Sidho Kanhu at Sidho Kanhu Chowk. An 8 point memorandum was sent to the Governor with the following demands: pass the women’s reservation Bill in the winter session of the Lok Sabha; declare midday meal workers as government employees; Rs 18,000 monthly salary for school Rasoiyas; cancel the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill and the Religious Conversion Bill passed by the Jharkhand government;

Earlier, on 20 December 2017 the Jharkhand Pradesh Rasoiya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sanyojika Adhyaksh Sangh organized a huge protest at Sundarpahadi Block HQ in Godda district. The demands at this protest were: equal pay for equal work; payment without delay of 11 months’ arrears due to Rasoiyas; government employee status for midday meal and all other scheme workers; rehabilitation and compensation for thousands of footpath vendors. Addressing the protest meeting AIPWA Jharkhand State Secretary Geeta Mandal said that rights of scheme workers including equal pay for equal work are being denied despite Supreme Court orders. AICCTU leader Com. Arun Sahay said that displacement of thousands of footpath vendors without rehabilitation and compensation in peak winter season is a fascist step and a cruel joke against democracy. A memorandum with the above demands was submitted to the Governor through the BDO.

On 29 December the Godda Sadar Block HQ was gheraoed for the above demands. A 9-point memorandum was submitted to the Governor of Jharkhand through the BDO. Thousands of women raising spirited slogans participated in the gherao. The gherao ended with a resolution to carry forward the movement to even bigger and stronger proportions.