Jharkhand district collectorate under demonstrators' control for past 50 hours


Ranchi, April 28 : Jharkhand's Latehar district collectorate has been closed for the past 50 hours after demonstrators, protesting against the Panchayat polls, locked it up. Hundreds of members of the Tana Bhagat community, who revere Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and walk holding the Tricolour in their hand, have laid siege to the collectorate since 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The demonstrators are demanding that the "traditional tribal self-government system" be restored in tribal-dominated areas. As the collectorate is closed, candidates are facing difficulty in filing nominations for the Panchayat polls. The officials on Wednesday accepted the nomination papers in another government building. All the officials of the district, including the Deputy Commissioner, seem to be helpless. The State Election Commission has sought a report from the Deputy Commissioner about the problems being faced by people filing nominations. The protesters are saying that till their demand of "self-rule" in tribal dominated areas is not accepted, they will not move from the collectorate. Hundreds of Tana Bhagat community members reached the district collectorate playing their traditional instruments on Tuesday at 10 a.m., forced the officials and staffers out of the office and locking it. The number of protesters increased on Wednesday. They have also taken control of the Latehar BDO office and forest department. Akhil Bharatiya Tana Bhagat Sangh Latehar district chief Parmeshwar Bhagat said that many tribal organisations have many times given applications to the district administration demanding self rule in the tribal dominated areas. "According to the Constitution and the law, in Jharkhand's tribal dominated areas, traditional system will run. Under such circumstances, by holding Panchayat elections, the government is violating the Constitution," Bhagat added. /IANS


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