Day 22: We Will Protect Tribal Rights

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra commenced from Govindpur Mor in Dhanbad. Right from the onset, a multitude of people joined the procession, echoing slogans of ‘Rahul Gandhi Zindabad.’ The air was filled with enthusiasm, with chants of the Nyay Yatra’s core mantras: ‘Daro Mat, Saho Mat,’ and ‘Nyay Ka Haq Milne Tak.’ The march had yet to properly begin when it had to be halted immediately. The innocent reason behind this stoppage was that a group of children had brought their piggy banks to contribute to the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, wanting to donate their savings for the cause.

Encouraged by these innocent children and their heartfelt contribution, the Yatra continued. Upon reaching Bank Mor, Shri Gandhi addressed the crowds of people. The enthusiasm among the crowd to listen to Shri Gandhi was palpable. The entire road was brimming with an animated crowd.

Addressing the gathering, Shri Gandhi remarked, ‘The unemployment that has spread due to GST and demonetization, which Narendra Modi ji, BJP has done. The future of the youth has been ruined, this Yatra is against that. Backward people, Scheduled Castes, and Tribals used to get employment from the public sector, all of which are being privatized one after the other.

This public sector unit is the property of the people of India. Narendra Modi ji, his government is handing over the entire capital to those two-three billionaires and I think , in a short time, in Jharkhand your steel industry, they will hand over all this to their two- three friends, we stand against it.’

Expressing concerns for the rights of the tribal brothers in Jharkhand, Shri Gandhi added, ‘The Congress party protects our tribal brothers, their water, their forests and their land and will continue to do so, we stand with you. We will work 24 hours for your education, health and employment and get these things for you.’

Following this address, some locals approached Shri Gandhi. They were from the Harijan community and earned their livelihood by working privately in coal mines. They shared their difficulties with Shri Gandhi, representing the struggles of those residing in Godhar Kali Basti, who sustained their homes by selling coal from the mines. The central government had not provided them with any facilities. They had not received a gas cylinder or any money in their Jan Dhan account. They had no job security or decent work for their livelihood.

For lunch, the Nyay Yatra made a stop at the ‘Zaika’ restaurant operated by Jharkhand Tourism. During lunch, Congress Secretary Shri Jairam Ramesh and youth leader Shri Kanhaiya Kumar addressed the journalists. Speaking to the press, Shri Ramesh highlighted the disparity between the promises and actions of the central government based on figures.

He said, ‘Between April and December 2023, in the first 9 months of this financial year, steel has been imported at 60 lakh tonnes. This has not been seen before in the last 5-6 years, and out of these 60 lakh tonnes that have been imported, about one-third has come from China. Those who make steel in our country, in the public sector, in the private sector, Tata is an example in Jharkhand, there is a grave injustice to them.’

He further stated, ‘Small and small scale industries are lying closed, 80 percent of the small and small scale industries that make stainless steel are in Gujarat and out of that, 35 percent small scale industries are lying closed because cheap goods are coming from China. On one hand, it is said to be self-reliant and on the other hand, there is no restriction on the cheap goods that come from China.’

After the lunch break, the Yatra proceeded from Jaina Mor to Ramgarh. Ramgarh is a city of great historical significance from the perspective of the Indian independence movement. During the Indian independence struggle in 1940, the annual session of the Congress was held in this city, which is 40 kilometers away from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand. The session, chaired by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was attended by Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr. Shrikrishna Singh, and Dr. Rajendra Prasad, along with many other senior leaders of the country. The location where the Congress session took place is now inside the Sikh Regiment barracks. However, a memorial has been erected at the session venue as a symbol.

The Yatra stopped at Gola DVC Road for the evening break, where Shri Gandhi addressed the people before leaving. Shri Gandhi not only shared his thoughts today but also invited a victim of the Modi government’s unethical policies to engage with the public directly. He invited the General Secretary of a trade union, Jharkhand Krantikari Mazdoor Union – Mr. DC Gohain, to speak about his difficulties in front of the people. Gohain, representing the laborers working on the contracts, took the mic to express the challenges faced by workers, the false promises made by the central government, and the hardships in the lives of contract workers.

After this address, the Yatra headed towards the campsite for the night’s rest, which was arranged in Ramgarh itself.

“Any individual in the country who feels subjected to injustice, experiencing any form of unfair treatment, holds the potential to transform into a Nyay Yoddha. If you harbour the aspiration to become a Nyay Yoddha, give a missed call at 9891802024.”

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