Sixty adivasi men from Jharkhand defecated in public on copies of proposed amendments to the land acquisition act on Sunday to register their protest against removal of the ‘consent’ clause and the need for Social Impact Assessment in the proposed legislation.
The protest, which took place near Barwadih block office of Latehar district, was organised by a platform called National Campaign on Adivasi Rights (NCAR). The organisers said they have received invitations from six other sites in the state to conduct such protests and added that they are planning to hold them unless the amendment bill is reviewed.
NCAR convener Abhay Xaxa, a Ford fellow who is pursuing a PhD course in JNU, took part in the protest. He said the idea for public defecation had come from the community. “We held a meeting with our community leaders on the 14th to discuss the nature of our protest. Some of our young leaders suggested the defecation method,” said Xaxa, a native of Jaspur in Chhattisgarh and an adivasi from Oraon tribe.
He added: “Private defecation is what differentiates man from animal. If these people were willing to do it in public, it tells you of the urgency of the matter,” he said. Xaxa said even women wanted to take part in the agitation, but community elders barred them. He added that the villagers were agitated over “corporate land grab”.