Tribal land being snatched in name of development: Rahul Gandhi

08:03 AM Feb 07, 2024 | PTI |

Gumla (Jharkhand): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday claimed that land parcels of tribals are being ‘snatched’ in the name of development in the country.


Gandhi whose ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ resumed from Jharkhand’s Khunti district this morning alleged that the previous BJP government in the state had acquired acres of land of tribals but such resources remained ‘unutilised’.

Speaking on his promise to remove the 50 per cent cap on reservation if the I.N.D.I.A. bloc was voted to power, Gandhi said, “The prime minister calls himself OBC. Recently he was confused and started saying there are only two castes in India — rich and poor. First, he has to decide whether there are castes in India or not. Second, whether he is from OBC or not.”

It is believed that there are 8 per cent tribal people, 15 per cent Dalits and 50 per cent Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the country, he said, asking: “Then, why is there only a 50 per cent limit on the reservation?” Gandhi asked.

The Congress leader on Tuesday reiterated that a nationwide caste census will be held and the 50 per cent cap on reservation will be removed if the opposition coalition forms the government after the Lok Sabha elections.


Talking to reporters in Gumla, he said if the I.N.D.I.A. bloc comes to power, it would increase the reservation cap for OBCs while protecting that for tribals and Dalits.

“The poor people belonging to the general caste will also not be left. We will change GST and make a new financial plan to support small and medium scale businesses,” he said.

Addressing a gathering during a roadshow as part of the yatra at Kamdara Chowk in Gumla district, the Congress MP said, “I talked to several tribal women in Jharkhand and they told me that their land was snatched in the name of development and finally given to corporate houses or NGOs. This is a big issue for tribals.”

He said the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had introduced a land acquisition law, under which it was provisioned that no tribal land would be taken without the consent of Gram Sabha.

“According to provisions of the law, even if their land is taken, they are compensated four times the market rate. And, if the acquired land is not used for five years, it has to be handed over to the original owner,” Gandhi said.

He also accused the previous BJP government in Jharkhand of acquiring lakhs of acres of land from tribals for creating a land bank but keeping such resources unutilised.

“Now, tribals want back their land,” he said.

Alleging that the Election Commission, agencies and bureaucracy are being ‘misused’ in the country, Gandhi claimed, “The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are targeting opposition leaders.”

Gandhi said that whatever happened to former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren was not acceptable.

Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on January 31 in a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam.

Later, speaking at Jhulan Chowk in Simdega, Gandhi said his Yatra was aimed at fighting against the social and economic injustice in the country. “We are raising our voice for employment of youths and against the price rise,” he said.

The Congress leader resumed his yatra from the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk in Khunti district this morning after paying floral tributes to tribal icon Birsa Munda and proceeded to Gumla.

The Yatra entered Odisha from Jharkhand later in the day.


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