Opposition-called shutdown hits life in Jharkhand

Ranchi, Nov 25 (IANS) A dawn-to-dusk statewide shutdown called by united opposition parties on Friday to protest amendments to the state’s two land acts has affected normal life in Jharkhand.

The shutdown began early on Friday morning.

The shutdown supporters torched three vehicles in the state — one was torched in Jamshedpur and two in Dumka. They also blocked roads at many places across the state and burnt tyres in the middle of roads to stop vehicular movements.

Schools, colleges and shops are closed in most parts of the state. In Ranchi, the shutdown impact is most visible, as all schools and shops are closed.

The state government has made elaborate security arrangements to keep an eye on the situation. Heavy deployment of the police force has been made in many districts of the state. Drones have also been deployed to monitor the activities of those supporting the shutdown.

The united opposition includes the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P), Congress, Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left parties.

Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that the land acts were formulated to protect the rights of the tribal and indigenous people, Chief Minister Raghubar Das’s government managed to push through the amendment bills in the assembly on Wednesday.

The bills amending the two land acts — Chhotanagur Tenancy Act (CNT) and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act — were tabled amid vehement protests by the opposition. But the amendments were cleared by voice votes, without holding any discussions.

After the passage of the amendment bills, agricultural land can be used for non-agricultural purposes. The government can acquire land for infrastructure, power plants, roads, canals, Panchayat buildings and others.

“It is the first time that amendments to the acts have been made without people asking for it. The amendment is to facilitate industrialists in acquiring tribal people’s land,” said Babulal Marandi, former Chief Minister who is also the JVM-P President.

–IANS

ns/nir/vt

Top