By Matters India Reporter
Gumla, September 20, 2019: People’s movements in Jharkhand, where state assembly elections are due before the end of this year, have begun public awareness meetings.
On September 19, a public meeting was organized under a local awareness forum in Gumla, a city some 95 km southwest of Ranchi, the state capital.
As many as 32 public organizations and people’s movements presented their responsibility in the upcoming assembly elections, said Gladson Dungdung, a social researcher and author.
“Now it is time for all the tribal and indigenous people of Jharkhand to come on a stage. This solidarity can save Jharkhand,” he added.
Dungdung says their main concern is to protect their tribal identity and save land and natural resources such as water, mountain, and minerals from mindless exploitation.
The groups now look for tribal candidates who could win the election so that they could raise tribal issues in the assembly with strength, he said.
The Jharkhand legislative assembly has 81 members, directly elected from single-seat constituencies and one is nominated.
Since 2014, the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is in power. Under the BJP rule the state has witnessed several activities against Christians and indigenous people.
Jharkhand has 9 million tribal people who form 27 percent of the state’s population of 33 million. About 1.5 million people in the state are Christians, at least half of them Catholics.
Indigenous people continue to live in poverty in villages. Their young people caught between a growing nexus of human trafficking and left-wing extremism.
Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in 2000 purportedly to accelerate advancement of its indigenous people.