More BJP leaders join anti-demolition drive in Jharkhand

The BJP, Congress and trade unions have called for a shutdown on the issue in Dhanbad Monday.

Ranchi: Jharkhand`s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government found itself in an embarrassing position with several top leaders joining party MP Yashwant Sinha on Monday in the protest against a demolition drive that has affected more than 100,000 people.

The sit-in against the court ordered demolitions that have seen more than 4,200 illegal structures being razed has been going on at the Birsa roundabout here. On Monday, Sinha found more support when former state BJP president Raghubar Das joined in.

Sinha also got support from former Jharkhand assembly and Palamau Lok Sabha MP Inder Singh Namdhari.

"I support Sinha. India is a welfare state and people cannot be displaced in an inhumane way. Being a welfare state, it is duty of the government to formulate a rehabilitation policy. The affected people should be first rehabilitated then displaced."

Sinha, the Lok Sabha MP from Hazaribagh, began the indefinite sit-in Sunday.

"We are against the demolition drive and the way it is being executed. The demolition drive should be stopped immediately. Democracy and bulldozer cannot exist together," Sinha told reporters.

"The government should move the high court to seek a stay on the demolition drive... The affected people should first be rehabilitated and only then should the demolition drive start."

A large section of BJP leaders are against the demolition drive, party insiders said. Chief Minister Arjun Munda, who heads the BJP-led alliance, finds himself in a dilemma, the sources said.

The BJP, Congress and trade unions have called for a shutdown on the issue in Dhanbad Monday.

In the last one month, more than 4,200 illegal structures have been demolished in the state, affecting more than 100,000 people. In the next two to three weeks, the ongoing drive, on the directive of the Jharkhand High Court, could render more than 500,000 people homeless.

Three people, two in Ranchi and one in Dhanbad, have died of shock after they were served notice.