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Tribal land being snatched in name of development: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress MP Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Ranchi

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Ranchi

Gumla: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday claimed that land parcels of tribals are being "snatched" in the name of development in the country.

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Gandhi whose 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' resumed from Jharkhand's Khunti district this morning alleged that the previous BJP government in the state had acquired acres of land of tribals but such resources remained "unutilised".

Addressing a gathering during a roadshow as part of the yatra at Kamdara Chowk in Gumla district, the Congress MP said, “I talked to several tribal women here in Jharkhand and they told me that their land was snatched in the name of development and finally given to corporate houses or NGOs. This is the big issue for tribals.” He said the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had introduced a land acquisition law, under which it was provisioned that no tribal land would be taken without the consent of Gram Sabha.

“According to provisions of the law, even if their land is taken, they are compensated four times the market rate. And, if the acquired land is not used for five years, it has to be handed over to the original owner,” the Congress MP claimed.

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He also accused the previous BJP government in Jharkhand of "acquiring lakhs of acres of land from tribals for creating land banks but keeping such resources unutilised".

“Now, tribals want back their land,” he said.

Speaking on his promise to remove the 50 per cent cap on reservation, he said, "It is believed that there are 8 per cent tribal people, 15 per cent Dalits, and 50 per cent OBCs in the country. Then, why is there only a 50 per cent limit on the reservation?" Gandhi on Monday promised a nationwide caste census and removal of the 50 per cent cap on reservation if the INDIA bloc forms the government at the Centre after the Lok Sabha polls.

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Notably, more than 50 per cent reservation cannot be given under existing provisions.

The Congress leader began his yatra from the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk in Khunti district after paying floral tributes to tribal icon Birsa Munda and proceeded to Gumla.

The yatra is scheduled to reach the Jhulan Singh Chowk bus stand in Simdega district before entering Odisha during the day, and a flag handover ceremony will be held at the inter-state border.

The ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, which started in Manipur on January 14, is scheduled to cover 6,713 km in 67 days, passing through 110 districts in 15 states, before culminating in Mumbai on March 20.

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