Jharkhand polls: In the shadow of police repression and a tribal uprising

Pathalgadi emerged as a non-violent movement against the government’s force in Jharkhand. | All photos by Prabhu Mallikarjunan

Like any other day, Silmani Purty, a tribal woman, is busy collecting firewood from a forest near her village in Jharkhand’s Khunti district.

Of the 38 houses in Udburu village which has a population of 200, she is one of the lucky few to have electricity connection in her home, though there is no gas connection.

Apart from successive governments, including the current BJP dispensation, not providing facilities to the tribals, an uprising in 2017, which has come to be known as Pathalgadi movement, to boycott government services, has resulted in the villagers being left high and dry.

For Silmani, the firewood is not only her cooking fuel but also her only means of income. With no immediate employment opportunity in the village or in the nearby town, Silmani sells thick dried wooden blocks in the market for ₹100 a bunch and makes about ₹800 a month.

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