Jamshedpur : The daylong bandh called by Kurmi leaders to protest against crippled normal life in the city.
Markets remained closed in all some areas. Long-distance buses and other heavy vehicles stayed off
the road while very few private vehicles plied on the national highways.
Supporters, armed with sticks and traditional weapons, blocked the national and state highways.
Minor clashes between bandh supporters and commuters were reported from several parts of the city.
Agitators, in a bid to show their anguish, torched tyres and burnt effigies of senior JMM leaders across the
Jharkhand Police had deployed large number of security forces at all major places to prevent any untoward incident. Police forces were sighted patrolling at all important squares of the major cities and highways.
The Kurmi population -traditionally an agrarian community making up around 25% of the state population
— are up in arms .
The Mahato community called for the bandh in favour of re-inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe status.
The activists also resorted to violent agitation and damaged commercial vehicles and a Reliance Fresh
outlet at Mango during a bike rally.
The police, however, rounded up about 150 activists of the Kurmi Sena in the afternoon at NH 33 and detained them at the MGM police station.
The activists block the road by setting truck tyres on fire at the Dimna Chowk, causing the vehicular communication on the NH-33 to come to a stand- still.
The activists also smashed the windscreens of those commercial vehicles, including trucks which tried to defy the protestors.
About a dozen trucks and mini-trucks were damaged in the violent gesture of the Kurmi Sena during the bandh.
Though there was police deployment on the NH-33 along the steel city since last night, the agitated Kurmi
Sena members seized the stretch starting from Dimna Chowk and blocked the link between Kolkata to Ranchi via Jamshedpur.
Shailendra Mahto alleged that Kurmis had been victims of a deeprooted conspiracy.
“Till 1931, we were treated as tribes. But later we were de-listed on the recommendation of a section of affluent
Kurmi leaders from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Since the creation of Jharkhand in 2000, we have been fighting for a tribal status for Kurmis but in vain.
We will continue to fight for our rights,” he said. Mahtos are said to constitute about 25 per cent of the
population of the state.
“If the government does not listen to our demand, we will launch an agitation at the block level and finally
go for road blockades,” a leader said.
Arguably the most politically influential section this state, KurmisMahtos were de-listed in 1931 on the request of some affluent members of the community to the British.
“That was because some members of our society came under the influence of Kurmis from Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar,” said Sunil Mahto, chief convener.