Congress’ ministers and leaders from Jharkhand have rushed to Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh to join the farmers’ agitation at a time when their own backyard is on fire.
The Morabadi ground in Ranchi situated barely 2.7 km from the Congress office and about 2 km from official residence of Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has been reverberating with sloganeering of youths and job aspirants. Belonging to different groups, in less than two years this government has left them disillusioned and say that they realised that Hemant Soren and the UPA alliance fooled them on the name of providing 5 lakh jobs.
Among the youths protesting, 2,500 are assistant police personnel who have been fighting for their regularisation and better salary.
Congress, with four ministers, is part of the Hemant Soren led JMM-Congress-RJD government in Jharkhand. However, none of the Congress leaders have ever visited these youths at Morabadi ground. However, they decided to travel to Lakhimpur Kheri located over 872 km from Ranchi.
Jharkhand Congress leaders were stopped near Wyndhamganj by UP Police on their way to violence hit area of Lakhimpur Kheri, late last night. pic.twitter.com/4wPRsQDkkg
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 7, 2021
Except, now it seems, they are returning to Ranchi after they were stopped near Wyndhamganj by the Uttar Pradesh police. Jharkhand Congress president Rajesh Thakur along with ministers Banna Gupta and Badal, MLAs Bandhu Tirkey and Mamata Devi, presidents of five districts and a couple of others were part of the team for Lakhimpur Kheri excursion.
When asked, a senior party functionary said they were instructed by state party in-charge RPN Singh to join the party agitation after Lakhimpur Kheri violence. The leader further charged the Yogi Adityanath government for illegally preventing political leaders and workers from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri. That senior functionary ducked when asked what prevented them from visiting these agitating youths at Morabadi ground.
Roads leading to Morabadi ground were barricaded because protesters often drift to the Chief Minister’s residence on Kanke road for demonstration.
“You can’t count how many men and women are agitating and for what reasons. Even mothers with their kids are protesting. There are at least a dozen different groups of job aspirants: assistant police personnel, panchayat secretary, ITI and many others. It looks like a rally is taking place. This is the ground of unrest that the ruling class of Jharkhand now fears to venture,” said Ranchi resident Vimal Krishnan.
Morabadi ground has a majestic statue of Mahatma Gandhi which is often visited by people and politicians to pray tribute. “But it happened for the first time in the history of Jharkhand when no tribute was paid to Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary this year because of the barricading and youths on peaceful demonstration,” said Deepak Lohia, another resident of Ranchi.
Who are these assistant police personnel protesting in Jharkhand
In 2017, the then Raghubar Das government had hired 2500 youths on contractual basis for their deployment in 12 naxal hit districts of Jharkhand. They discharge duties at par with police personnel and get monthly honorarium of Rs 10,000. The Raghubar Das government had made a provision that in future recruitment in the police force they will be given preference. Also if their performance is assessed satisfactory they will be absorbed in the district police in next four to five years.
Meanwhile, Raghubar Das and the BJP lost the 2019 assembly election and the Hemant Soren led alliance rose to power.
“Nothing happened after that. We demand regularization of our job but the government asks us to stay happy with Rs 10,000. The only thing changed all these years is that those who were in the opposition are in power. They used to visit Morabadi ground to support us when they were in the opposition. Now they are running away. They can visit Uttar Pradesh but they will not take care of their own brothers are sisters who are dying,” said a protester.
A week back one of the assistant police personnel, Pushpa Kullu from Gumla district died after her condition deteriorated during demonstration. The death left them deeply hurt. They have composed a song in Nagpuri that translates how Hemant Soren forgot them. Their morning starts with that song.