Jharkhand parties join tribals protest against land for IIT, IIM

Two opposition parties in Jharkhand – the Congress and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha Prajatantrik (JVMP) and ruling alliance partner, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha on Tuesday lend support to tribal villagers protesting against the government.

They were up in arms against the government for regaining possession of 227 acres of land for building an IIT, an IIM and a law university which had been illegally occupied by them for farming.

Former chief minister and JVMP president Babulal Marandi sat on a one-day fast at Morabadi ground in Ranchi, protesting the state government's move to acquire land and baton charges by police against villagers last week.

The Congress on Monday had staged a sit-in demonstration in front of Raj Bhavan. “The agriculture land should not be acquired forcefully,” Stephen Marandi, a Congress leader said on Tuesday.
The BJP finds itself in a catch-22 situation as its key alliance partner JMM is against forceful land acquisition.

"The issue should be resolved amicably instead of the use of force," said Jharkhand agriculture minister and BJP leader, Satyanand Jha.

The government had acquired 227 acres of land at Nagri situated around 20 km from Ranchi more than 50 years ago. The land was used by the villagers for farming as it was not used by the government.

When the state government last year decided to build IIT, IIM and a law university, villagers started protesting against the move. They moved the Jharkhand High Court against the state government.
The high court passed the judgement against the villagers in April this year and directed the state government to expedite the work on the land.

After the setback, the villagers moved the apex court in June but it also refused to hear the case.

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