States Current Affairs – 2017

Jharkhand Government launches Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana

Jharkhand Government has launched Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana aimed at developing villages of freedom fighters in the state. It was launched from Ulihatu Village, birth place of freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

Under this scheme, villages of many tribal freedom fighters will be developed and their habitants will be provided basic amenities. These villages had remained inaccessible for long time after Independence because of Left-wing extremism. Now they will be provided with 136 pucca houses.

Birsa Munda

Birsa Munda was tribal, freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to Munda tribe from Chhotanagpur area. He had led Munda rebellion towards end of 19th century against British Raj. Starting in 1895, revolt was against interference by British administration which transformed tribal agrarian system into feudal state around Chhotanagpur area, as well as interference in their religious matters from Missionary activities.

Birsa Munda had adopted Guerilla Warfare techniques to launch surprise attacks in which many police officials were killed. The revolt was brutally suppressed by Britishers. Birsa Munda was arrested and was sentenced to death and died in jail of Cholera.

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Jharkhand Governor gives assent to Religious Freedom Bill, 2017

Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu gave her assent to the Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill, 2017. The state government will now issue notification on the Religious Freedom Bill, after which it will become an Act.

With this Jharkhand, become seventh state in the country to have anti-conversion law. Other six states with similar law are Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill, 2017

The Bill seeks to bring stringent anti-conversion law in place under which forceful or allurement induced religious conversion will be non-bailable criminal offence. It defines allurement for religious conversion and also includes religious conversion based on cash or economic benefits under the definition.

The Section 3 of Bill prohibits forceful conversion. The violation of this section will result in punishment upto 3 years imprisonment or Rs 50000 penalty or both. If the religious conversion crime involves a minor, woman or person from S ST community than prison term would be up to 4 years and a penalty of Rs.1 lakh.

Background

The state assembly had passed this law inorder to prevent rampant religious conversions taking place in state. It was found that most of the religious conversions cases in the state were predominantly in tribal and backward communities lured by money or other benefits.

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