Chhattisgarh goes to the polls late next year. Jogi and his son Amit Jogi had broken away from the Congress in 2016, making the CJC the third player in a state that has seen a two-way battle between the BJP and Congress thus far.
On July 10, for the first time in the history of the Chhattisgarh conflict, the police formed a commando unit comprising only women, meant for operations in the Bijapur forests. For the police, there were many arguments for such a move. For the women themselves, it is the first time, they say, that “they feel like policewomen”.
The issue of the paddy bonus and a minimum support price for farmers has been one of the primary political sticking points as these were the cornerstone policies of the BJP’s election manifesto for the agriculture sector.
State government agencies had been informed about suspected irregularities in operation and finances of at least one of these shelters back in November 2014. But despite the warning, Shagun Gaushala, owned by the BJP leader in Durg district, received nearly Rs 30 lakh in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
As reported earlier by The Indian Express, Verma has blamed the Chhattisgarh Gau Seva Aayog for the cash crunch at the gaushalas. This, despite the three shelters cumulatively receiving more than Rs 1.5 crore over the past six years.
On Saturday, the same ghastly scenes of rotting carcasses lying next to weak, hungry cows barely clinging to their lives were seen at Mayuri Gaushala in Rano village and Phulchand Gaushala in Godmarra village, both in Durg.
Rajpur residents and state officials blame Verma for the deaths of the cows over the last week. But the BJP leader claims his party’s own government let him down by not releasing annual grants for maintaining such gaushalas in a state where cow slaughter is banned.
On his arrival in Raipur on Sunday night, Agriculture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal told the media, “I am happy and content that the (party) national president heard me out for over an hour. After that, I thought that he was satisfied with what I was saying.”
One CRPF personnel was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly sexually harassing students of a government school in Chhattisgarh’s Palnar on July 31. Another CRPF personnel wanted in the case went on leave two days after the incident, and a warrant has been issued against him.
The alleged incident took place on July 31. A five-member district-level committee was constituted to look into the allegations, after which a case was registered on Monday. AAP tribal leader Soni Sori alleged that the district administration and the police were hushing up the matter.
The victims were passengers of the Jaipur-Bayana Express which halted at platform no. 1. Four of the five deceased were identified as Kamal (19), Nitesh (14), Man Singh and Mukesh (both 35) police officials informed.
At a press meet Friday, State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said, “On the first day, we raised the issue of farmer suicides. On the second, we took up land dealings by a minister’s wife and no discussion was allowed."
While the Congress said the day signalled the death of democracy, Amit Jogi of Chhattisgarh Janata Congress and two Congress MLAs, who have declared support to him, stayed in the House in protest even as night fell.
According to government records, six of the 15 different tracts of land allegedly encroached in Chhattisgarh, totalling over 10 hectares, have been documented as “chhote jhaad ke jungle” and “bade jhaad ke jungle”, or jungles comprising small and big shrubs.
On July 25, The Indian Express had first reported that Agrawal’s wife bought the land donated by farmer Vishnu Sahu to the Water Resources department in 1994 which was then transferred to the Forest department with the government’s Rs 22.90 lakh spent on it in 2003 for afforestation.
The minister’s wife, Sarita Agrawal, had bought 4.12 hectares. The land was donated by a farmer named Vishnu Sahu to the state Water Resources Department in 1994, and it was subsequently transferred to the Forest Department. The department spent Rs 22.90 lakh on the piece of land in 2003 as part of an afforestation drive.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said, “I have asked the Chief Secretary for an urgent report from the Collector and other officers as to how the land was bought and what procedure was followed."
The purchase, in September 2009, was red-flagged by several officials of the Chhattisgarh government, as recently as June 30 this year, but her husband's Ministry put down in writing that "it's not possible to take any action in the matter," an investigation by The Indian Express has revealed.
The past two months have seen a furore about whether Jogi is a tribal or not, with a high-powered committee ruling that he was not one. The former Congress leader has now approached the High Court against the committee’s findings.
Asked about the framing of the narrative of this election as dalit versus dalit, Kumar said that she was glad the “real face of society has come in front of us”, but filled with sadness that these discussions still take place.
The affidavit also said that senior police officers of Chhattisgarh attempted to “manage the family members of the petitioners” and applied pressure on them to withdraw the case they had filed in Odisha.
In the afternoon, the families did meet Brijmohan Agrawal, the minister concerned, with him promising 25000 rupees in compensation, and to look into the widespread demands for a paddy bonus and loan waiver and education specifically for the families of the children.