A tribal farmer, Abhiram Mundu, was killed and nine farmers were injured when Jharkhand police shot at them on Saturday afternoon. The farmers were on their way to state capital Ranchi to attend a protest when police fired at them. Three of them were critically injured. They were taken to the Rajinder Institute of Medical Science in Ranchi for treatment.
This is the third time the state police have fired at protesting farmers in less than eight weeks. Saturday's protest in Ranchi was against dilution of Jharkhand’s special land tenancy laws, which are meant to protect tribals’ rights over land.
Tribal activist and writer Dayamani Barla said, “In less than two years, the Modi-Raghuvar Das government has enabled police terror in Jharkhand. Our land rights are protected in the Constitution of this country.” She said the farmers' rights to agitate through dharna and rallies were part of the same Constitution.
Manob Chowdhury, a photojournalist who was at the scene on Saturday afternoon, said, “Since the morning, the police was blockading farmers trying to travel to Ranchi for the rally, they threatened those who owned vehicles against renting out their vehicles and said those those going on foot will be detained.” He said the police stopped the farmers' vehicle at Saiko, near Adki, and when the tribals resisted, they were shot at.
Khunti Superintendent of Police did not respond to Scroll.in's questions on the incident.
Mundu is the seventh farmer to die in incidents of police firing in Jharkhand in less than two months. Two farmers died and 42 were injured on August 29 when police had fired at farmers protesting pollution from a thermal power plant in Ramgarh. On October 1, four other farmers were killed and about 50 injured in Hazaribagh when they protested the National Thermal Power Corporation’s land acquisition for coal mines.