‘Cops, JMM workers dragged us away’: Tana Bhagat protest in Jharkhand ends after 55 hours

Tana Bhagat protesters squatting on railway tracks to present their demands over land rights among others.

Tana Bhagat protesters squatting on railway tracks to present their demands over land rights among others.

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Talks with CM Hemant Soren held in Ranchi; many Tana Bhagats alleged that they were forcefully dragged out of the place and hit by batons in order to derail the agitation.

Tana Bhagat protesters squatting on railway tracks to present their demands over land rights among others.
Tana Bhagat protesters squatting on railway tracks to present their demands over land rights among others.

RANCHI: After a 55-hour-long agitation on the railway tracks of Tori Junction in Latehar, the Tana Bhagats ended their protest early in the morning on Saturday following an appeal made by Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

Over 250 Tana Bhagats were demonstrating at Tori Junction performing puja, singing bhajans, and cooking food on the railway tracks, affecting the movement of several goods trains and the New Delhi-Ranchi Rajdhani Express, which remained stranded at Daltonganj railway station for several hours on Thursday.

“I had gone to them with the offer made by the CM and returned with them here for talks. The talks were quite positive. I congratulate them all as the issue is also related to my constituency,” said JMM MLA Baijnath Mahto.

On Friday night, Mahto had gone to the dhana spot on the instructions of the CM and appealed the Tana Bhagats to end their protest as they have been invited by Soren for talks.

“Most of them were convinced and announced that they were ready, but some were adamant to continue the agitation. They finally agreed after I persuaded them,” said JMM MLA Baijnath Mahto.

The MLA alleged that some of the Tana Bhagats were drunk and deliberately lay on the railway track as they were not in favour of ending the stir. Tana Bhagats, after talks with CM Soren, said they would end the protest as their demands will be taken up by the government.

“The Chief Minister has assured us that he will personally look into the matter and do the needful,” said Parmeshwar Tana Bhagat.

Many of the Tana Bhagats in Latehar on the other hand, alleged that they were dragged out from the railway track by the district administration and JMM workers.

“Even though we were staging a dharna peacefully, the district administration in connivance with the JMM workers who had come with the MLA, dragged us away from the place by thrashing us with batons, and put us forcefully inside the buses,” said Manju Tana Bhagat of Tandawa in Latehar.

One of the protesters Rame Tana Bhagat asserted that they policemen even held the female agitators by their arms, legs, and necks and pulled them towards the buses before women cops were called in.

Tana Bhagats, known for peaceful protests, have taken to the streets demanding land rights and amendment of the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act.

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