The opposition parties on Saturday decided to court arrest on August 4 in Hazaribagh district’s Barkagaon in protest against cases lodged against several people, including political leaders, on July 24 in connection with continued agitation against land acquisition in Barkagaon.
“Cases were lodged against 400 to 500 people and we have decided to go to Barkagaon on August 4 and ask the police to arrest us,” said former Chief Minister and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) President Babulal Marandi.
Marandi addressed a joint press conference with senior Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay, former Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Alamgir Alam, RJD’s state unit president Goutam Sagar Rana, CPI state secretary K D Singh and Janata Dal (U) leader Pawan Pandey . The leaders said the state government must adhere to the Right to Fair Compensation, Land Acquisition and Resettlement Act 2013. “Under the act, 70 per cent consent of the people was required if government takes land and 80 per cent people’s consent for any private company,” Marandi said, adding one of the provisions was four times of the cost of the land in villages and two times in the cities.
Land agitation has been there in Barkagoan in Hazaribagh district from 2004, which led to the enactment of the law, Marandi said. Describing the August 4 decision as a ‘satyagraha’ former union minister Subodh Kant Sahay said it was a ‘big issue’ and the government should understand it, adding on one hand naxal violence was there while on the other political leaders were raising issues like alleged violation of Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act, Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, land acquisition, compensation, rehabilitation and employment.
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Alamgir said land agitation by the displaced has been there not only in Barkagaon but also in the Santhal Pargana region. Stating that Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh, Rasthtriya Bhumi Sudhar Parishad member Raj Gopal P V and several other leaders had recently visited Barkagaon, RJD president Goutam Sagar Rana described the August 4 event by the opposition as ‘jail bharo’ andolan.
CPI leader K D Singh and JD-U leader Pawan Pandey also expressed concern over the issue of displacement and lent support to the opposition decision.
The state government has been on record that concerns of farmers and the poor were being addressed to.