Ex-Jharkhand CMs oppose domicile policy

Ranchi, May 9 (IANS) The domicile policy of Jharkhand’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is facing tough resistance from several political heavyweights, including former chief ministers.

Under the domicile policy, which was announced by Chief Minister Raghubar Das in April, anyone living in the state for 30 years and possessing immovable assets will be considered a resident of Jharkhand.

However, senior tribal leaders and former chief ministers across the political spectrum are opposed to this policy, saying that it will adversely impact the rights of the indigenous people of the region like the Mahtos and the Moolvasis.

The ruling BJP is also facing stiff opposition from within. Four BJP MPs have written to Governor Draupadi Murmu and the chief minister, saying the tribals and the Moolvasi people must be protected.

Former Jharkhand chief minister and senior BJP leader Arjun Munda has written to the chief minister seeking changes in the domicile policy. “The domicile policy needs to be changed or else it will lead to serious discord and dissent,” Munda wrote in his letter.

He also rejected the claim that all concerned leaders were consulted. “No suggestion was sought from me in this regard,” Munda told mediapersons.

He found support in Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prjatantrik (JVM-P) president and former chief minister Babulal Marandi.

“The state government should withdraw the domicile policy otherwise our party will call for economic blockade on June 11 and 12. BJP leader Arjun Munda understands the sentiment of the people of the state,” Marandi said.

Former chief minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren too echoed a similar view. “The BJP government in the state is working against the tribals and the Moolvasis. JMM will oppose the policy and lead the charge,” he said.

JMM has called for a shutdown in the state on May 14 to protest against the domicile policy.

Earlier, in a letter written to Governor Murmu on April 29, four BJP MPs demanded that the domicile policy be changed to assuage the tribals.

Signed by Ranchi Lok Sabha MP Ram Tahal Choudhary, Khuti MP Karia Munda, Jamshedpur MP Vidyut Baran Mahto and Chaibasa MP Laxman Gilua, the letter stated that the domicile policy has caused discontent among the Adivasis and Moolvasis of the state.

“The domicile policy has been announced after a long wait. There are several shortcomings in the policy. The policy is being opposed by several parties and some changes have been demanded. Discontent is rising among the Adivasis and Moolvasis of the state,” the letter stated.

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