The community warn of a larger and more intense protest if their demands were not met during the meeting in state capital
Jamshedpur, Sept 20 : The rail blockade protest staged by the Kurmi community, demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, in six locations across Jharkhand and Odisha, came to an end on Wednesday evening.
The protest led to the cancellation of several trains while others were diverted or terminated prematurely, causing significant inconvenience to rail passengers.
To resolve the issue, Additional District Magistrate (ADM) and the Odisha director of Tribal Research Institute held a two-hour discussion with the protesters after which Ajit Mahato, a key organizer, addressed his supporters and media personnel present at the scene.
During his address, Mahato announced that a dialogue is scheduled in Ranchi on September 25 which will involve high-ranking officials, including the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand and the Director of Tribal Research Institute, Odisha. Mahato warned of a larger and more intense protest if their demands were not met during the meeting.
“We will be forced to go for larger and more intense protests if their demands were not met during the meeting,” he reiterated.
He stated that they have submitted written appeals to the Prime Minister, President, Minister for Tribal Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Chief Justices, Chief Secretaries of states and Chief Ministers. Since their demands had not been considered, they took to the railway tracks.
Mahato thanked the protesters for their steadfastness and acknowledged that many have been at the protest site for an extended period, some even without food and water. He emphasized that their primary demands were to grant ST status to the Kurmi community and include the Kudumali language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
The agitation had disrupted rail services in places like Murhi, Gomo, Giridih and elsewhere in Jharkhand and Khemashuli and Bhojpur in Odisha.
The Calcutta High Court had on Tuesday banned the indefinite rail blockade called by the Kurmis on September 20 in West Bengal and Odisha, saying the planned sit-in and demonstration was illegal and unconstitutional. However, even though the protest was called off in West Bengal, it began in Jharkhand from Wednesday morning