Soren rubbishes tribal land grabbing allegations by Oppn - Hindustan Times
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Soren rubbishes tribal land grabbing allegations by Oppn

By, Ranchi
Aug 21, 2023 09:50 PM IST

Replying to a specific question at a function of a private news channel about his government’s initiative to return the land to tribals, Soren said several acres of land have already been returned to tribals in the state.

In an indirect attack on the Opposition, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren said on Monday that it was ironic that his family, “which has played an important role in protecting the interests of the tribals and moolvasis”, was being accused of grabbing tribal land.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Monday denied allegations of grabbing tribal land (ANI)
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Monday denied allegations of grabbing tribal land (ANI)

Replying to a specific question at a function of a private news channel about his government’s initiative to return the land to tribals, Soren said several acres of land have already been returned to tribals in the state.

“As of now, several allegations of land grabbing are being levelled against me. Ironically, someone who helped liberate tribals from the Mahajani system is being accused of grabbing tribal land. The fact remains it is due to our efforts that an innumerable number of tribals and moolvasis have been able to protect their land. If people are protecting their land by putting it in my name, then the entire state can use my name to protect their land,” said Soren.

“As far as returning land to tribals is concerned, we have returned over 1,000 acres of land in Hazaribagh. Land has also been returned that was used for a firing range in Netarhat. A tribunal has been put in place to address such complaints. We have returned tribal lands and several more are in the pipeline. On the other hand, it is in the public domain how the land was taken in the name of making a land bank,” he added.

According to people close to the matter, ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) patriarch and former chief minister Shibu Soren is credited with running a campaign against the Mahajans (money lenders) in the tribal villages, simultaneously with the movement for a separate Jharkhand.

While the chief minister did not elaborate on the context of his statement, it came days after Jharkhand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Babulal Marandi alleged that the Soren family grabbed tribal land by buying it and altering names.

On August 13, a day before embarking on a statewide Sankalp Yatra, Marandi alleged that Soren and his brothers bought tribal lands by altering their and their father’s names.

Soren’s remark also holds significance as it comes at a time when he has been summoned by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), which is probing money laundering related to an alleged land scam in the state capital, to depose before the federal agency.

The ED had summoned Soren on August 7 to depose before it on August 14, but the chief minister refused to participate and raised questions about the legality of the summons. Describing it as “politically motivated”, Soren sought withdrawal of the summons, or he would take legal recourse.

However, the federal agency rejected Soren’s reply and summoned him for the second time, requesting him to appear at its Ranchi zonal office on August 24.

The JMM has remained tight-lipped about Soren’s future course of action and whether he will appear before the ED.

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