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Jharkhand Security Camps: Tribals Stop Gram Sabha Assembly

The residents of Noamundi block have been resisting the setting up of newer security camps, stating the camps lead to militarisation and trampling of land rights

File Photo.

In a small village of Noamundi block, situated in the Western Singhbhum region of Jharkhand, resistance is mounting.

Residents of Joja Kabir village-- comprising mostly of Munda and Ho tribals stalled a Gram Sabha on the 27th of August, owing to the resistance mounting against the creation of CRPF security camp in the region.

A large number of tribal women and men had gathered at the gram sabha site. These people had reached the gram sabha site raising slogans against the proposed CRPF camp across 5 acres of land.

Laxman Laguri, the village head of Jojo Kubir village, had received a letter from Noamundi Circle Officer in the form of an order, ordering to hold a Gram Sabha in the upgraded middle school Jojo Kubir on 27th August, however, the villagers state that the camps are an impediment on the land rights of the people as well as tribal identity and culture.

Speaking to Newsclick, Gautam Minj, an activist based in the Noamundi block said, "Munda tribals had gathered in the region and opposed the

setting up of the camp, while the administration tried to convince people however, the Gram Sabha on the 27th was stalled." To the communities on the ground, the boycott of the Gram Sabha is the first step towards resistance in the construction of the camp.

While the government aims at using unclaimed fallow land for the construction of the camps, the residents of the village state that 15 to 20 people have applied for forest lease at the protest site.

Reportedly-- Some people have even built houses. The fallow land is given to the landless of the village on endowment-- residents state that the opposition to the construction of the camp also lies in the fact that land given to the landless appeals of which are currently being processed will be taken away.

Speaking to Newsclick, Jharkhand-based activist Siraj Dutta pointed out, "there has been a definite increase in the number of camps coming up and the resistance against the camps across the state by tribal communities."

The plan to increase security camps in smaller tribal villages is being witnessed across states and so is a larger resistance movement against it.

In Chattisgarh over a dozen such camps have been proposed with many under different stages of development being currently opposed by tribal communities across the spectrum. The protest against Silger security camp continues for over 100 days now, as tribals dig up roads in different parts of Dantewada to stop the access of areas by the security forces.

Communities across states highlight that the camps have proven to create more insecurity and vulnerability in the region causing conflict and making the region volatile instead of providing a sense of security.

More importantly-- the question of tampering with tribal identities and cultures through the impetus of these camps remains key.

Jharkhand is also currently witnessing a mass movement of the demand for a separate religious code for tribal communities in order to stop other religions from taking tribal populations under their fold. At the heart of this movement is also the aim of protecting communities from losing their unique language and character.

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