Jharkhand assembly disrupted over amendments to land laws

Ranchi, Jan 19 (IANS) The Jharkhand assembly proceedings were disrupted on Thursday as JMM legislators protested the amendments to the two key state land acts originally formulated to protect the rights of the tribal and indigenous people.

As Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislator Amit Mahto moved an adjournment motion over the issue, his party legislators stood near their seats and displayed placards against the amendments brought about by the Raghubar Das government despite stiff resistence from the opposition.

The JMM members later trooped into the well of the house and shouted slogans to demand the rollback of the amendments in the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy (CNT) and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Acts.

“It is an important issue for the state. The government should roll back the amendments,” JMM legislator Amit Mahto said.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s legislator Radha Krishna Kishore said the issue was not related to the house any more. “The house has passed the amendment and sent it to the Centre for the next step,” he maintained.

Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon tried to pacify the protesting JMM legislators but they continued to shout slogans in the well of the house, forcing him to adjourn the assembly till 12.30 p.m.

When the house reassembled, JMM legislators again trooped into the well of the house, and it was again adjourned till 2 p.m.

Amid the pandemonium, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Saryu Rai tabled the third supplementary budget of Rs 2,069 crore.

The assembly’s winter session was washed out by the opposition protests over the amendments to the two key land acts, which were carried through amid ruckus and by a voice vote without discussion.

After the amendments, agricultural land can be used for non-agricultural purposes as well.