Jharkhand tribals reiterate demand for 60% quota

Ashish Sinha
(Ranchi, May 28)

ADIVASI JHARKHAND Janadhikar Manch (AJJM) president Salkhan Murmu linked the AJJM's struggle in Jharkhand with the tribal movements around the world and said "civilised" majorities everywhere had discriminated against Aboriginals, threatening their identity, land and civil rights.

Murmu was addressing an AJJM rally, organised here to press for its key demand of granting 60 per cent quota to the Scheduled Tribes in Jharkhand.

The BJP MP from Mayurbhanj also referred to the Black rights movements in Africa and the US and said the Blacks got what was rightfully theirs only after protracted struggles against the White rulers.

"The victory of adivasis in Jharkhand is the triumph of tribals around the world. The next few weeks, during which the state government is expected to announce its reservation policy, are crucial. We have to fight today to ensure a better tomorrow for our new generations. It has to be a do-or-die battle."

Lambasting all political parties, especially their tribal leaders, for maintaining a "studied silence" over adivasis' "share" in the state, the AJJM president, however, welcomed firebrand CPI-ML legislator Mahendra Prasad Singh's statement that STs be given 51 per cent reservations in Jharkhand.

"Over the years, adivasis have been systematically outnumbered in this region. Not providing the tribals with a say, will eventually lead to their extinction. Ours is a struggle for existence. I urge the CPI-ML to vigorously project its stand and help adivasis," he added.

Attacking the Kurmi leaders who held a rally of their caste here on Friday, Murmu said, "These leaders are confused. They want ST status for Kurmis. They want Kurmis to be the leaders of the backward castes. They take pride in being descendants of Shivaji, a kshatriya. They socially intermingle with Kurmis of north Bihar. Tomorrow they will want to be Brahmins. The Kurmi leaders spoke against adivasi rights and demanded de-reserving the 28 (out of 81) Vidhan Sabha seats." The AJJM leader said his organisation would oppose attempts to list Kurmis as a tribe in Jharkhand.

Murmu said the four Kurmi ministers who worked for organising the rally misused government machinery for its success. "They had claimed an attendance of over five lakh people. However, only 50,000 persons turned up despite help from the administration," he added.

The AJJM, he said, would give memorandums to the Governor, CM and Chief Justice of Jharkhand HC for putting a stop on formulation of significant policies for the industry and reservations without consulting the Tribal Advisory Committee.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 30, 2001
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