Ranchi: Shibu Soren's Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) may be a part of the government in Jharkhand, but that did not stop him from speaking against it on its land acquisition policy. The state government reportedly wants to turn about 230 acres of agricultural land on the outskirts of Ranchi into an education hub.
The government claims it had acquired the land for the project in the 1950, but villagers say most of them did not take the compensation and that acquiring agricultural land for the project is against the law.
"Agricultural land should not be given. I am in the government but am speaking against it," said Mr Soren on Sunday when he addressed a rally in support of the villagers.
Mr Soren's motives though, may have nothing to do with the welfare of the villagers. The area's assembly seat is held by the BJP, and sources within the JMM say this may be their best opportunity to woo people here.
The Jharkhand High Court has also intervened in the matter, getting the government to set up a five-member committee to examine the issue. A hearing by the committee is scheduled on Monday.
For the residents of the seven villages in the area, the fight has gone far beyond political rhetoric. Villagers clashed with the police, who lathicharged a crowd that tried to demolish a boundary wall the government had built in the area.
"I have six acres of land. I was injured trying to save it. Whatever happens I will not give away my land, when I tried to resist them, they beat me up," said one of the villagers.
Story first published:
July 16, 2012 10:24 IST