20 chowkidars (watchman) under Jharkhand Rajya Dafadar Chowkidar Panchayat on Tuesday demonstrated against the government delaying payment of their salaries by observing a silent protest in a police station in Ranchi. They alleged at least 10,000 chowkidars in the Jharkhand did not receive their salary for four months.
Each chowkidar monitors 10 villages under one police station and has a salary of Rs 20,000. The rural policing system came into force with the Village Chowkidar Act, 1870. Chowkidars would report to dafadars. Chowkidars and dafadars help villages to maintain law and order and collect the intelligence inputs for the police force.
“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi identified himself as chowkidar and later started the Main Bhi Chowkidar campaign, we felt proud that somebody recognised this neglected section of administration. But the fact is that our salaries are always delayed. Why should we always suffer? I want to know whether the salary of chief minister Raghubar Das, chief secretary Sudhir Tripathi and all other officials has ever been delayed by a single day,” Krishna Dayal Singh, the president of Jharkhand Rajya Dafadar Chowkidar Panchayat, told The Telegraph.
The protest was held when BJP leaders including Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das had added the prefix 'Chowkidar' to his name on Twitter as part of the #MainBhiChowkidar campaign. The campaign was launched by the party on March 16 to counter the opposition parties who have attacked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling him a failed ‘watchman’ as they allege that he has turned a blind eye to rampant corporate corruption.