May 1, 2018 6:12:24 am
A FORMER IAS officer was among two persons arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police on Monday for incitement and misinterpretation of the Constitution.
Both Herman Kindo, the former IAS officer, and Joseph Tigga, a former ONGC employee, were the torchbearers of the “Patthalgarhi” movement in North Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur area. They were sent to 15 days judicial custody.
Earlier this month, people in several villages of Jashpur erected stone pillars outside their villages, which purportedly quoted sections of the Constitution which give tribals the right to govern themselves, similar to a practice reported primarily from bordering Jharkhand in recent months.
The movement says that the “gram sabha” has more weight than either the Lok Sabha or the Vidhan Sabha in scheduled areas. Civil society groups in Chhattisgarh have been cautious in their backing of the movement, wary that this interpretation of the Constitution may also be violative of fundamental rights of movement and expression, with Patthalgarhi activists also suggesting that the entry of “outsiders” to these villages can only take place after the consent of the gram sabha.
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On Saturday, the local unit of the BJP, along with senior party leaders like Ram Vichar Netam and Prabal Singh Judev, held a “Sadbhavna” rally in the villages, asking tribals not to be misled. Judev in particular has been vocal that this is an attempt at “religious conversion and divide”, with the local units of the BJP blaming the Christian missionaries.
Following the rally, an angry mob broke the Patthalgarhi pillars, which prompted an angry reaction from villagers who allegedly kept senior officials of the police and administration hostage for a few hours.
On Monday, the police registered cases in Narayanpur and Bagicha police stations.
The Congress has said that the Patthalgarhi incidents are a sign of no development pushing tribals to a corner. It said that it will back any movement based on the constitution as long as it does not violate it.
Chief Minister Raman Singh has, however, said that if the movement was found to be unconstitutional, action would be taken.
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