Language-Domicile Protest in Jharkhand
- Several parts of Jharkhand are seeing massive protests against the inclusion of Bhojpuri and Magahi as “regional languages” in district-level competitive examinations for government jobs.
- Hundreds of protesters, including women, have been marching with placards, raising slogans against the government mainly in the east-central districts of Bokaro and Dhanbad, but also in Giridih and Ranchi.
- The Jharkhand Personnel, Administrative Reforms, and Rajbhasha Department issued a notification to include Magahi, Bhojpuri, and Angika among others as regional languages in the district-level selection process through exams conducted by the Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission (JSSC).
- The notification triggered resentment in a section of people especially in Bokaro and Dhanbad, who saw the inclusion of Bhojpuri and Magahi as an “infringement” on the rights of Adivasis and Moolvasis.
- The protesters argue that the “low population” of Magahi and Bhojpuri speakers in these two districts did not “warrant” the inclusion of these languages in the job selection process.
- The Jharkhandi Bhasha Sangharsha Samiti, an organisation of Moolvasis and Adivasis which claims to be apolitical, has organised more than 50 protest gatherings over the last few days.
- Tirth Nath Akash, a spokesperson for the Samiti, said the protests were intended to pressure the government on the inclusion of these languages in the two districts of Bokaro and Dhanbad.
- “It is our (Adivasi) government, and it is important to force them to listen. Language is a very important issue.
- The population that speaks Magahi and Bhojpuri in Bokaro and Dhanbad is minuscule.
- It will only make jobs scarcer for Jharkhandis. We are not opposing the inclusion of these languages in Latehar, Garhwa or Palamu, because a substantial population speaks these languages in those areas.”
- They are also demanding that 1932 be made the cut-off date while taking into account proof of land records for the state’s domicile policy.
- This has long been contentious.
- Following the creation of Jharkhand in 2000, the first Chief Minister, Babulal Marandi, thought it was necessary to define a ‘Jharkhandi’ in order to provide benefits including government jobs to local people.
Source The Hindu