Thousands held during Jharkhand shutdown

Ranchi: Thousands of people, including 10 lawmakers, were arrested in Jharkhand on Saturday and a few incidents of arson were reported during a shutdown called by opposition party JMM against the state government's domicile policy.

"A total of 8924 people, including nine MLAs and one Lok Sabha MP of JMM Vijay Hansda, were arrested during the shutdown. It was by and large peaceful barring a few incidents," a police official said.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) described the shutdown as successful.

"Raghubar Das government adopted repressive measures and detained many people on Friday night. Despite government crackdown the shutdown was successful. The shops were closed and long distance buses did not ply," Supriyo Bhattacharya, JMM general secretary, told reporters.

The protesters burnt a bus in Jamshedpur and a mini truck was torched in Bokaro. Three people were inured when protesters threw a petrol bomb on a truck on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur national highway.

The shutdown affected normal life in Jharkhand. Shops, schools and colleges were closed. The buses did not ply and the protesters tried to disrupt train services at a few places.

The state government made heavy security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident.

The JMM supporters and workers burnt tyres in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and other places.

The Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajantantrik (JVM-P) of Babulal Marandi supported the shutdown.

Even though the BJP, which rules the state in alliance with the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), was at the receiving end during the shutdown, it has developed a rift over the domicile policy as reflected in former chief minister's Arjun Munda's objections to it.

The policy was formulated by the state government, led by Chief Minister Raghubar Das, and notified after the governor's consent in April.

According to the notified policy, anyone living in the state for 30 years and possessing immovable assets will be considered a resident of Jharkhand.

Former chief ministers who have opposed the policy include Arjun Munda of BJP, Hemant Soren of JMM, Babulal Marandi of JVM-P and Madhu Koda.