In its first cabinet decision, the Hemant Soren government Sunday dropped all cases registered against people during the Pathalgadi movement in 2017-2018, as well as against people booked in the protests after the Raghubar Das government attempted to tweak Chotanagpur and Santhal Paragna tenancy Acts.
The cabinet also directed that necessary posts be created for judicial officers in fast-track courts dealing with cases pertaining to women and children in every district, besides paying all dues to Anganwadi workers and para-teachers.
JMM leader Stephen Marandi has been elected Speaker of the upcoming Assembly.
The decisions came shortly after JMM working president Hemant Soren took oath as the eleventh chief minister of Jharkhand in the presence of opposition leaders.
The Pathalgadi movement began in 2017-18, when giant stone plaques came up outside villages in the district, declaring the gram sabha as the only sovereign authority. The plaques had inscriptions from the Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled areas) Act or PESA, which the tribals quoted to claim their independence from the state and assert their rights and culture.
While the movement petered out, many villagers alleged they were subjected to “police brutality”, or what they called “state’s repression”. A total of 19 cases of sedition, among others, were registered against 172 people, out of which police had sought prosecution sanction against 96 accused.
Another important decision is of lending support to Anganwadi workers and para teachers (appointed on annual contract), who had protested for an increase in honorarium and pension, and for regularisation of their jobs, respectively.
Anagwadi workers were beaten up by the police during the protest, due to which they developed a resentment against the BJP. The cabinet decision to clear all old dues of para teachers and Anganwadi workers is seen as much-needed relief by these workers.
The cabinet also ordered filling of all vacant posts in the state government and directed that various camps be organised at district, block and Panchayat level to clear the payment backlogs.
Along with this, Deputy Commissioners were asked to distribute blankets to the poor in their districts, along with making arrangements for bonfires.
The cabinet also discussed a logo for the state of Jharkhand, which would reflect its “traditions, history and golden future.”