Hemant Soren Soren said government didn't give the right to anyone to take law in their hands (Photo Credit: PTI File)
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the killing of seven people in West Singhbhum district. Seven villagers were killed in Burugulikera village of Chaibasa for allegedly opposing Pathalgarhi. The order from Soren came after he held a high-level meeting with Director General of Police (DGP), and other top officers.
Hemant Soren said government didn't give the right to anyone to take law in their hands. He said that lots of rumours are being spread but government will take strict and unbiased action. The bodies of the seven villagers were recovered from a forest, four kilometres from the Burugulikera village. Inspector General of Police (Operation) Saket Kumar Singh said that the police had reached Burugulikera village on Tuesday night after getting information about seven villagers being killed and their bodies dumped in a forest. A panchayat representative was among those killed, he said.
There was a meeting over 'Pathalgarhi' movement at the village on Tuesday when a dispute had arisen, West Singhbhum Superintendent of Police Indrajit Mahata said. Following the development, 'Pathalgarhi' supporters had kidnapped the seven villagers, he said. The supporters of Pathaligarhi had allegedly perpetrated the crime in which lathis and axes were used, the police officer said.
What Is Pathalgarhi Movement
'Pathalgarhi' means carving a stone. The stones signify self-rule by the local gram panchayat, declaring the village as sovereign territory and prohibiting the entry of outsiders into the village. In last few years, many Adivasi villages in Jharkhand have put up giant plaques declaring their gram sabha as the only sovereign authority and banning 'outsiders' from their area.
The movement is mainly concentrated in the four districts in the State— namely Khunti, Gumla, Simdega and West Singhbhum. In Munda tribal custom, placement of a huge stone marks the death of a person. The Pathalgadi movement draws on this tradition of honouring the community’s ancestors.
Usually placed at the entry points of tribal villages, these stone plaques have provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA written on them. These are meant to serve as warnings to the outsiders. They proclaim allegiance to the Constitution but reject any authority except their gram sabhas (village assemblies). They claim to be the real "Bharat Sarkar" (the government of India). Their fight is aimed to reclaim their rights over "jal, jangal and zameen (water, forest and land)".