Several members of the civil society along with tribal rights activist stan Swamy and developmental economist Jean Dreze came together under the banner of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha to put out a people’s manifesto.
Swami, who recently was allegedly harassed by the Pune police in the Bhima Koregaon case, said that Jharkhand and the country were passing through a phase of undeclared emergency. “Peoples’ rights and basic tenets of democracy are under attack: amendment in Land Acquisition Act, starvation deaths, lynching incidents, increasing atrocities on Adivasis, Dalits, minorities and women, state-sponsored communalism, attacks on the freedom of expression, harassment of activists, attacks on traditional self-governance systems of Adivasis, to name a few,” pointed out Swami.
Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha has demanded all the political parties contesting 2019 Lok Sabha polls to exhibit explicit commitment on the following people’s issues in their election manifesto. JJM has asked for the Land Acquisition Amendment Act 2018 (Jharkhand) and Land Bank policy be repealed. There should be no amendment, against the interest of Gram Sabha and people at large, should be made in land laws. Land taken over or identified under these policies should be immediately returned to the owners or the Gram Sabha.
“All those projects that are being undertaken without consent of Gram Sabha and by violating land laws should be scrapped,”states the charter released by the group.
Icha-Kharkai embankment, Godda Adani Power project, Palamu elephant corridor and Mandal dam are some of the projects where the violations have occurred.
The charter states that laws which are blatantly and repeatedly used for suppression of freedom of expression and harassment of activists must be repealed. “Several fabricated cases have been filed under Sections 124A (sedition) & 499 (criminal defamation) of the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Preventions) Act and National Security Act and all such cases filed under these provisions in Jharkhand should be withdrawn,” said the members of JJM. Swami has also called for the immediate release of under trial prisoners languishing in Jharkhand’s jails since a long time.
They have also asked for the current domicile policy of the state to be repealed. The charter has suggested that the domicile policy which considers only those who are native inhabitants of Jharkhand as local residents must be formulated.
They have called for the scrapping of the 10% reservation for financially weak candidates since this provision is against basic principles of reservation and social justice and also the removal of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication from all welfare programmes and public services.
The citizens under JJM have called for Universal basic services and social security for all citizens to be guaranteed for – food, nutrition, universal common education till secondary level, and maternity benefits. “All citizens should be provided common, free and quality health services through public health system. Delivery of government health services to be strengthened at all levels, especially for primary and preventive care,” states the charter.