The Congress's Rahul Gandhi today attacked the government over the sedition case against 10,000 tribals over the Pathalgadi movement. He also criticised the media for lack of attention to the case. "That any Govt. could slam the draconian "sedition" law on 10,000 Adivasis, fighting against state oppression, should have shocked the conscience of our nation & raised a media storm. But it hasn't. Our "sold out"media may have lost its voice; as citizens can we afford to?" his tweet read.
Mr Gandhi's tweet, highlighting a report by scroll.in on the sedition cases, comes ahead of the state elections in Jharkhand, in which tribal votes will be much sought after.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das told NDTV that Rahul Gandhi is not aware of the facts in this matter and is unnecessarily trying to raise it on the eve of the elections. Mr Das said whatever was done, it was just to establish the rule of law.
The state is still reeling from the crackdown on "Pathalgarhi" - an anti-establishment, self-rule movement in parts of Jharkhand's tribal belt.
It was the tribals in Khunti -- a district practically in the backyard of state capital Ranchi -- who started using ''pathalgadi'' as a form of protest against the central government.
Opposing forcible acquisition of tribal land, they advocated setting up a parallel administration based on the traditional tribal governance system.
In 2017, monoliths started to appear at the entrance of villages, on which the tribals carved parts of the Indian Constitution that gives special autonomy to tribal-dominated areas.
Soon after, tribals of Khunti held groundbreaking ceremony for the Bank of Gram Sabha, Tribal Education Board, Health Board and Defence Board.
It set them on a collision course with the state government and led to the filing of the sedition cases.
Last year, villagers of Chituram in Khuti district removed their monolith, admitting that they had been misled.
Voting will be held in the state in five phases starting November 30. The counting of votes will be held on December 23. The Congress is contesting the election in alliance with local outit Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal.