Ranchi, Jan 23 (PTI) Accusing the BJP of exploiting Jharkhand's resources, Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Monday claimed that the existence of tribals in the state will come under threat if the saffron party manages to return to power.
Addressing a rally in Simdega as part of the 'Khatiyani Johar Yatra' – a programme to mark three years of the UPA government in the state – Soren stated that the BJP has put Gujarat and Maharashtra on development path but "ruined the social fabric" of Jharkhand.
"If the BJP somehow manages to come back to power, the original inhabitants and tribals will not be able to stand on their feet, with their existence coming under threat. The party has grabbed land in urban areas. I want to warn you (people) that they (BJP) will capture villages now," Soren said.
Elections to the Lok Sabha as well as the Jharkhand Assembly are scheduled to be held some time in 2024.
"Conspiracies were being hatched at multiple levels," he alleged, attacking the Centre for "brazenly diluting the power of local gram sabha and snatching away rights of Adivasis by making changes in the Forest Conservation Rules 2022," the CM said.
Soren, in a letter to Prime Minister Modi, had recently urged him to ensure that rights of tribals and forest dwellers are protected as changes are made to the Forest Conservation Rules.
"I had written to prime minister to state that we can't accept the changes. If the gram sabha no longer has the power to grant permission for mining or felling of trees, forests will get wiped out and Adivasis will be driven out," the CM noted.
He claimed that only a handful of tribals reside in the rural parts of Simdega currently, with the rest having left for elsewhere.
The CM also pointed out there is a “need to build over 8.5 lakh houses in Jharkhand, for which I had written to Centre but received no response”.
He accused the BJP of playing "divisive” politics over Parasnath hills or ‘Marang Buru’ project, saying never before the state witnessed such controversies over a religious place of the Jains.
The Jain community had been protesting against the Jharkhand government's decision to develop Parasnath hills, which the community considers among its holiest places, into a tourist destination Cautioning people that the days ahead would be "challenging" for tribals and local inhabitants, he said the saffron party had earlier mocked the fight to carve out a separate state of Jharkhand.
"They want tribals and locals to keep struggling for their identity," he said.
Soren also said that the 1932 'Khatiyan' (land records)-based domicile policy was introduced by his government to protect peoples' rights, and called for its inclusion in the ninth schedule.
The ninth schedule of the Constitution contains a list of central and state laws that cannot be challenged in courts.
Accusing the Narendra Modi government of unleashing central forces like the ED and the CBI on his government, "whenever he talked about people’s rights and the Rs 1.36 lakh crore dues that Coal India owed to the state", Soren said he will continue to work for the state’s development, despite all bottlenecks.
"I am the leader of the poor, the tribals and the downtrodden and not of the traders," he added. PTI NAM RMS RMS