The Jharkhand police on Thursday detained hundreds of protestors during a statewide shutdown called by Opposition parties against proposed amendments to the state’s land acquisition law. If the amendments are passed, a social impact assessment report will no longer be required to acquire land for specific projects of public interest.
As many as 605 protestors were detained in East Singhbhum district, according to Hindustan Times. Former MLA Mangal Singh Bobonga and sitting MLAs Shashi Bhushan Prasad, Jaspal Saluja and Vijay Munda were among those detained in various parts of the state.
Markets in most cities were closed and public transport, including long-distance bus services, were hit, The Indian Express reported. Taxi and autorickshaw unions are supporting the shutdown. Most schools remained closed. In Ramgarh and Dhanbad, protestors blocked highways while some staged sit-in protests in Ranchi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government has installed CCTV cameras and deployed thousands of police personnel to manage the shutdown. “So far, more than 500 people have been detained,” said Additional Director General of Police RK Mallick. “Rail traffic was temporarily stopped at one place in Sahebganj. Protesters tried to block trains, but were removed. Forces and senior officials are on the ground. We are keeping a close watch.”
The Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and Left parties are supporting the shutdown. “The only development BJP is interested in, is that of corporates and big businesspersons,” the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha said on Twitter. “They treat Adivasis as sub-human beings.”
The state government had earlier called the shutdown “a gimmick” and “unconstitutional”.