Non-tribal group calls shutdown in JharkhandBy IANS
Thursday, October 21, 2010
RANCHI - Over 200 people trying to enforce shutdown were arrested in Jharkhand Thursday, after a non-tribal backward community group called a strike to protest the Nov 17 panchayat polls being held under a legislation that reserves posts for tribals.
“The polls will take away rights of the non-tribals, who constitute 74 percent of the total population of the state. We will continue our protests till amendments are not made to the PESA (Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act,” said Lalchand Mahto of the Sanyukt Sadan Morcha that called for the shutdown.
Buses were not plying on the roads while shops and schools remained closed here.
The Morcha is demanding de-reservation of panchayat head posts in areas where tribals make for less than 50 percent of the population.
The five-phase polls will take place Nov 27, Dec 6, Dec 13, Dec 20 and Dec 24. This is the first time that panchayat polls will take place in the state, after it was carved out from Bihar in 2000.
The Supreme Court January directed the state Election Commission to hold the polls under the provisions of the PESA Act.
The Jharkhand government is determined to hold the elections on scheduled dates and it has sought 250 companies of the central forces for peaceful conduct of the polls.