Wiped out in Jharkhand tribal seats, BJP rakes up ‘demographic change’ due to ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’

Wiped out in Jharkhand tribal seats, BJP rakes up ‘demographic change’ due to ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’

Ranchi: Ahead of the Jharkhand elections, BJP leaders are raising the pitch on ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’ and changing demography in Santhal Pargana, alleging that the government has pushed the tribals to the margins in the region. 

The Jharkhand High Court’s 3 July direction has come as a shot in the arm for the BJP that is reeling after the whitewash in the tribal seats in the general elections. It directed the Hemant Soren-led JMM-Congress government to take immediate steps to identify the infiltrators and prepare an action plan to deport them. 

In June last week, BJP state chief Babulal Marandi had said that the continuous decline in the tribal population and the unexpected increase in the Muslim population in Santhal Pargana region was a “warning signal”. 

In the last week of May at a Lok Sabha poll rally in Dumka, PM Narendra Modi accused the JMM-combine of “nurturing infiltrators who were targeting tribal women

Polls will take place in November-December in Jharkhand, where there are 28 seats reserved for the STs in the 81-member assembly. Eighteen of these seats are in Santhal Pargana. In 2019, BJP won only four of these seats.

In the recent Lok Sabha polls, the JMM won both the ST seats of Dumka and Rajmahal in Santhal Pargana, whereas BJP’s Nishikant Dubey won the non-reserved seat Godda for the fourth consecutive time. 

Comprising the districts of Dumka, Sahibganj, Godda, Jamtara, Pakur, Deogarh, the Santhal Pargana division makes up the eastern and northeastern parts of Jharkhand and shares its border with West Bengal. A large part of this region is dominated by Santhal tribals and Muslims, while there is a significant population of OBC, SC as well. 

Meanwhile, social activist Daniel Danish had filed a PIL in the Jharkhand High Court to highlight the way the demography was changing in Santhal Pargana over the years. The court was informed how the intrusion has started changing the demography and posing a threat to the existence of the poor tribals, the petitioner’s lawyer Rajeev Kumar said.

“The court was also told that a banned outfit in Bangladesh has been trapping the local tribal girls and marrying them in many of the parts of Santhal Pargana. Several illegal Urdu schools (Madrasa) in the bordering area, where infiltrators first take Shelter and then settle in the local area,” Kumar told ThePrint.

The government was asked to file an affidavit within two weeks and all six Deputy Commissioners of Santhal Pargana were ordered to identify the infiltrators and prepare an action plan to deport them, the lawyer said. 

The case will again be heard 18 July.

Welcoming the court directives, BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdev told ThePrint that the BJP was continuously raising this matter and alleged that the JMM and the Congress were sheltering the infiltrators. 

Also Read: Census code for Sarna faith — why Jharkhand CM Champai Soren is raising tribal demand ahead of polls

Politics, or cause of concern?

Expressing concern over the rapidly declining population of the tribals in Santhal Pargana, BJP’s Babulal Marandi said that the tribal population came down by 16 percent from 44.69 percent in 1951 to 28.11 percent in 2011. 

“The Muslim population increased from 9.44 to 22.73 percent during this period. The situation of Sahibganj and Pakur district of Santhal Pargana is going from bad to worse. The government should constitute a SIT to investigate this serious matter at the ground level,” he said 30 June in Dumka. 

Ravindra Tudu, BJP convenor of Santhal Pargana ST Morcha, alleged infiltrators were taking advantage of the innocence of the tribals. 

For the sake of vote bank, these infiltrators get protection at both political and administrative levels, he told ThePrint. “Bangladeshi and outsider hawkers who peddle daily goods in remote villages on bicycles dupe tribal women and then settle down in the local area.” 

On 28 June, Rajmahal BJP MLA Anant Ojha submitted a memorandum to the chief electoral officer seeking a high-level probe into the increase of voters in many of the “sensitive” polling booths bordering West Bengal.

Ojha had also drawn the attention of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Election Officer of Sahibganj district in the matter.

Leader of the Opposition Amar Kumar Bauri claimed that the government was bent on “eradicating” tribals in Santhal Pargana. “In Pakur too, similar (read, Hindu-Muslim) disparity is seen at the booths. The party has formed a committee to review the overall state,” he told ThePrint.  

Rajmahal and Pakur assembly segments are part of Rajmahal parliamentary constituency. Voters in Rajmahal went up from 3,01,353 voters in 2019 to 3,44,446 in 2024. Similarly, the number of voters in Pakur went up from 3,20,132 to 3,76,403. Overall, there were 2,18,946 additional voters in the 2024 general elections. 

“An inquiry is on to verify the claims with the block-level agents of all the parties. Action will be taken according to the findings,” Sahibganj Deputy Commissioner Hemant Sati told ThePrint. 

Congress MLA from Jamtara, Irfan Ansari contested the points raised by the opposition party. “Who are the infiltrators and where are they? The BJP only wants to create division. Before making any allegations, the BJP should ask the Centre to stop the entry of infiltrators. This (matter) is under the jurisdiction of the central government,” Ansari told ThePrint. 

But, Shahdev referred to a letter of the state intelligence last year to all the Deputy Commissioners stating there was information about the entry of Bangladeshi infiltrators. “Infiltrators first reach Santhal Pargana after which they take shelter in madrasas at the border area. Then their names are registered in the voter list, and they are settled as part of a conspiracy,” the BJP spokesperson alleged.

“Demographic change has reached a dangerous point. Infiltrators are being seen settling in many places under political patronage. This has also affected the Lok Sabha results,” Jamtara district BJP president Sumit Sharan told ThePrint Saturday

On 2 July, participating in a debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address, BJP MP Dubey accused the Jharkhand government of sheltering Bangladeshi infiltrators for vote bank politics and highlighted the clashes at Pakur’s Gopinathpur village.

Situated on the border of West Bengal, Gopinathpur village saw clashes on 17 June (Eid-ul-Adha) in which miscreants from the neighbouring state allegedly carried out vandalism, arson and bombing. Police forces were deployed in large numbers to control the mob. At present, police patrolling is on in the border village

A team of four BJP MLAs led by Bauri reached the village 21 June to take stock of the situation and on 25 June, a delegation urged  Governor C.P, Radhakrishnan to order a high-level investigation into the episode.

“It cannot be denied that the BJP will raise the matter of Bangladeshi infiltrators strongly in the polls. The kind of cases that are coming to light clearly highlight that this is an increasing cause of concern for Santhal Pargana in the coming times. Along with changing social fabric, its impact is also being seen in politics,” political analyst Chandan Mishra told ThePrint.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also Read: Friction in Jharkhand BJP ahead of state polls as Sita Soren blames party leaders for Lok Sabha loss


Source link



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

Social Media

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.