RANCHI (JHARKHAND): On Saturday, tribal bodies called for a day-long shutdown in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, to protest against the alleged burning of the Sarna flag, a tribal religious flag, by unidentified men on March 25. Around 150 people were detained for blocking roads during the protest, and some protesters even set vehicle tyres ablaze.
According to Rajeshwar Nath Alok, ADM (Law and Order) in Ranchi, the police deployed an adequate force to control the situation. He also stated that no untoward incidents were reported during the protest. The tribal bodies, under the banner of Kendriya Sarna Samiti and other outfits, are demanding the arrest of those responsible for burning the flag.
According to News agency ANI, One of the protestors, Rajesh Khaka, expressed his frustration with the lack of action from the police, stating that they had lodged an FIR on March 26 but had yet to see any results. He also noted that if their grievances had been resolved earlier, they would not have had to resort to protesting on the streets. Another protestor, Durga Sahsi, emphasized the need to stop the disrespect of their flag and for the culprits to be arrested promptly.
Protesters blocked roads in various parts of Ranchi and set vehicle tyres ablaze. However, after receiving assurances from the district administration and police, the protestors cleared the roads. The incident highlights the importance of respecting religious and cultural symbols and the need for swift action in addressing grievances to avoid escalated tensions and protests.
According to the report, Ranchi SP Sudhanshu Jain said that the situation is under control and the roads have been cleared.
“The situation is peaceful and roads have been cleared. The protesters have been assured of the immediate arrest of the culprits responsible,” he said.
On March 25, a day after the Sarhul festival, the Sarna flag was allegedly found torn and burnt in the Lalpur area, triggering massive outrage among the tribals.
According to tribal bodies, they had registered a first information report at Lalpur police station. The alleged incident of flag burning occurred in the lower Karam Toli area of Ranchi. “But police is yet to take any action,” Tribal bodies said.
Alleging that there were more such incidents, he said a tribal religious flag was thrown away in Nagri and Thakurgaon localities. In these instances too no action was taken though the tribal organisations had lodged their protests.
KSS president Phoolchand Tirkey said, Since the administration is taking no action, we are forced to call Ranchi bandh on Saturday.
Sarnas are sacred groves in Chhota Nagpur plateau region and are worshhipped by tribals in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
The prohibitory order at the chief minister’s house was imposed also due to the slated protest by students on the employment issue.
Jharkhand State Students Union (JSSU), however, announced on Friday that it has postponed the CM House gherao programme after the death of state Education Minister Jagarnath Mahto in Tamilnadu on Thursday.