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Rameshwar Oraon interview: ‘If a house is bulldozed, it’s not just of accused, their family too live there. What kind of law says this is ok?’

Jharkhand minister Rameshwar Oraon says: ‘If I had been SP and if govt asks me to bulldoze houses, I would have plainly refused... This is completely inhuman’

Written by Abhishek Angad | Ranchi |
Updated: June 14, 2022 7:40:52 am
Jharkhand Finance Minister Rameshwar Oraon (Facebook)

Veteran Congressman Rameshwar Oraon is Minister of Finance, and Food, Public Distribution & Consumer Affairs in the Jharkhand Cabinet, and a former IPS officer. He speaks about the Friday violence in Ranchi and the police firing that followed, and calls the bulldozing of properties in BJP-ruled states “inhuman”.

Excerpts:

Do the recent events in Ranchi — where two youngsters, including a minor, were killed in police firing during Friday protests — point to mismanagement by the administration and police?

I don’t think there was any mismanagement. The facts need to be seen in their entirety. There was an attempt to create disturbance in the entire country, not just in Ranchi alone — there were several incidents of violence in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, among other places. We have to trace the elements behind this and check our internal security. As far as Ranchi is concerned, there was some information that the situation might get tense once the protest starts. Police tried their best to handle the situation but the stone-pelting was such that they could not stop it. It is unfortunate that two people died.

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But couldn’t the police have tried other measures to quell the protests before resorting to firing? Use tear gas or water cannons?

I am saying this as a former IPS officer — when an SSP is present at the spot, like in the case of Ranchi, and the police resort to firing, then higher officers should inquire and submit a report to the government. The government has taken a good decision to conduct an inquiry by two senior officers who will look into some of the points you raised. That is, how did the incident take place? Was there any intelligence input or not, and if there was an input, then whether the preparedness on part of police or the district administration was present or lacking. Things will be clear eventually and let us wait before making any judgments.

BJP-led governments in other states have been wielding bulldozers as a way to penalise or threaten those they accuse of being involved in protests. What’s your take on that?

First of all, the registration of 25 FIRs means that our government intends to take action. But we will never do the bulldozing as it is against the law. As someone who has been in the police for 28 years, I do not approve of it. If a house is razed, then this is not just the house of the alleged accused, the person’s family members too live there. What kind of law say this is ok? If I had been the Superintendent of Police and if the government had asked me to bulldoze the houses, I would have plainly refused and told them to get another SP to do the job. This is completely inhuman. Where will the family members go during the rainy season? Where has the human face of the police gone?

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First published on: 13-06-2022 at 09:18:46 pm

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