Making Displacement in Jharkhand an Election Issue
Undoubtedly the most pressing problem facing the poor, rural and tribal population in Jharkhand is the constant threat of their displacement from their ancestral habitat. This displacement is being justified by the politicians, bureaucrats and the urbanites, (totaling only 23% of the population of Jharkhand), as necessary for the progress(?) and development(?) of this State. The progress and development is for whom and for whose benefit is a matter that is often left unsaid.
The figures for displacement resulting in misery for the majority of Jharkhandis are quite revealing-a population of about 17,00,000 in total displaced so far, out of which almost 85% are tribals and locals and only about 25% have been halfway and half-heartedly rehabilitated.
It is therefore very necessary, with Parliamentary Elections in Jharkhand only about a month away, to bring the issue of displacement in the forefront as an issue to be discussed in election manifestos and meetings by the candidates standing for election. Displacement must occupy front page news and those supporting displacement must taste defeat. The question before us is how can this come about?
Action taken by Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum
In Jharkhand (Ranchi), a hoarding was put up at a prominent junction on which the Displacement messages were put up for the public and the messages were changed every three days (P 1 to P 6). It was an attempt to make the civil society aware of the trauma of Displacement faced by the poor. We also carried out a public signature campaign against Displacement which was inaugurated by Medha Patkar on the 11th of April. Films against Displacement were also shown to the public in a public parking lot the same evening.
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