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Friday, 12 October 2012

Will Mangra get back his land? By Gladson Dungdung




Will Mangra get back his land?

By Gladson Dungdung
JharkhandMirror.org
October 2, 2012

On 19 September, 2012, it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon when Mangra
Oraon along with his son Kishor and cousin sister Suryamani reached to
the Civil Court, Ranchi with the prime goal to reclaim his entitlement
on 1.41 acres of land, which is grabbed unconstitutionally and
illegally by Vasavi Bose alias Vasavi Kiro, member of the Jharkhand
State Women Commission and Journalist turned social activist of
Jharkhand. Magra comes from a village called Kotari, which is situated
in the forest near Burmu Police station, at a distance of 40
kilometres from Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand. It was pick
hour of harvesting, but Mangra had no option than stopping his
agriculture activities and visit the Court to save his land. It was
Mangra's first experience dealing with the lawyer in the Court, but he
was confident about what he wanted to do.

Finally, Mangra filed an affidavit, which reads as follows – 'Vasavi
told me that she comes from the Oraon tribal community, and asked me
for some patches of land for the 'Torang Trust'. She promised me that
she would use my land for the welfare of the tribal community and give
me a job along with the price of my land. Hence, I handed over her
1.41 acres of land. Meanwhile, she asked me to sign on a blank paper,
which she submitted to the court and got the permission to transfer
the ownership right of my land in her name instead of 'Torang Trust'.
However, when I came to know the truth, I didn't transfer the
ownership rights. Meanwhile, she lured and also abused me. Now, I
don't want to sell my land to Vasavi anymore, because she has cheated
on me. She is a non-tribal woman but declared herself as a tribal
woman through the false documents, which is a crime'.

Indeed, this is one of the unique cases of land grab therefore; we
must understand it thoroughly. There are thousand and thousand of
Mangras in Jharkhand, whose lands are being grabbed by the use of
different ways and means. Mangra Oraon's 1.41 acres of land were
unconstitutionally and illegally grabbed by none other than Vasavi
Kiro alias Vasavi Bose, who keeps claiming of being the voice of the
Adivasis. It's very interesting to know that firstly, Vasavi trapped
Mangra Oraon by showing that she was willing to work for the welfare
of the tribal people of Burmu block. Hence, she was able to grab 1.41
acres of land at the rate of merely Rs. 450 per decimal. Thereafter,
she started coining herself as a member of the tribal community
legally through trust deed and affidavit so that she could transfer
the ownership rights in her name. Finally, she applied in the court
for land transfer and constructed a house on the land, where she runs
the office of Torang Trust. She is secretary of the trust and the
National Commission for Women, New Delhi also provides financial
support to the Trust. What a trick she played!

1. Vasavi is a daughter of three fathers: It may be hard to believe
that one person would have three biological fathers.  But Vasavi Bose
alias Vasavi Kiro is a daughter of three official biological fathers.
According to the record of Ursuline Convent Girls High School, Ranchi
and Bihar Secondary School Examination Board, Patna, Vasavi's original
name is Vasavi Bose daughter of Prafullo Bose resident of Tharpakhana,
Ranchi, where she resides even today. However, according to the
affidavit made on 31 October, 2007, Vasavi has claimed of being a
member of the Oraon tribe. It is written in the affidavit that Vasavi
daugther of Praful Kumar (Oraon) and resident of Kotari village of
Burmu police station of Ranchi district.

Similarly, a social institution called "Torang Trust" was registered
on 19 November, 2005, under the Indian Trust Act 1882, where Vasavi's
name is mentioned as Vasavi Kujur daughter of Bhola Kujur resident of
Kotari comes under Burmu Police Station. Thus, Vasavi has changed her
surname and father's name several times to prove herself as a member
of the tribal community with the intention to buy the tribal land and
also bag most of the benefits with the tribal tag. Hence, her names
read like Vasavi Bose, Vasavi Kujur, Vasavi Bhagat and Vasavi Kiro,
and her fathers are late Prafullo Bose, late Praful Kumar (Oraon) and
Mr. Bhola Kujur. The most interesting thing is neither Praful Kumar
(Oraon) nor Bhola Kujur ever existed at Kotari village. Can a
journalist or social activist do like this?

2. Violation of the Indian Constitution: According to the Indian
Constitution Article 342 (1) the President after consultation with the
Governor, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal
communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities
which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be
Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State. Secondly, the Parliament
may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes
specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or
tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal
community, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said
clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification. However,
Vasavi Bose alias Vasavi Kiro declared herself as a member of Oraon
tribe community through an affidavit, which is a clear case of
violation of the Indian Constitution.  Is Vasavi Bose above the
Constitution? Can anybody be allowed to bypass the Indian
Constitution? And why the Indian state has failed to take action
against such people?

In fact, Vasavi Bose is a daughter of tribal mother and Bengali
father. In that case can she claim for the tribal status? The Supreme
Court has said in the cases of Valsamma Paul v. Cochin University and
others, (1996) 3 SCC 545 followed by Punit Rai v. Dinesh Chaudhary,
(2003) 8 SCC 204 and Anjan Kumar v. Union of India and others, (2006)
3 SCC 257 that the offspring of an inter caste marriage or a marriage
between a tribal and a non-tribal would take his/her caste from the
father. Hence, the offshoots of the wedlock of a tribal woman married
to a non-tribal husband cannot claim Scheduled Tribe status.
Therefore, Vasavi Bose cannot claim for the tribal status. Hence, she
should not be given any benefit as a member of the tribal community.

However, while providing safe guard to the offspring of tribal mother
and non-tribal father, the Supreme Court said on 18 January, 2012
Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika versus State of Gujarat & Others S.L.P (CIVIL)
NO.4282 of 2010) that in view of the analysis of the earlier decisions
on a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the determination of
the caste of the offspring is essentially a question of fact to be
decided on the basis of the facts adduced in each case. The
determination of caste of a person born of an inter-caste marriage or
a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal cannot be determined in
complete disregard of attending facts of the case. In an inter caste
marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal there may be
a presumption that the child has the caste of the father. This
presumption may be stronger in the case where in the inter caste
marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the husband
belongs to a forward caste.

The Supreme Court further said that by no means the presumption is
conclusive or irrebuttable and it is open to the child of such
marriage to lead evidence to show that he/she was brought up by the
mother who belonged to the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe. By virtue
of being the son of a forward caste father he did not have any
advantageous start in life but on the contrary suffered the
deprivations, indignities, humilities and handicaps like any other
member of the community to which his/her mother belonged.
Additionally, that he was always treated a member of the community to
which her mother belonged not only by that community but by people
outside the community as well. However, this judgement is also not
applicable in the case of Vasavi Bose. Precisely, because she lived
with his father Prafullo Bose at Thalpakhana, Ranchi and enjoyed as a
member of Bengali community at the start of her life. She has seven
brothers who use the surname as "Bose". Hence, the act of Vasavi Bose
is completely unconstitutional and against the judgement of the
Supreme Court.

3. Non-Tribal woman cannot enjoy tribal status: Indeed, Vasavi Bose is
a non-tribal woman who has married to a tribal man (Santosh Kiro). In
this situation, can she claim for the tribal status? In fact, whenever
the inter-caste marriage takes place, the woman takes on the caste of
her husband. The Supreme Court proceeded to consider the next question
which was, "whether a lady marrying a Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe
or OBC citizen, or one transplanted by adoption or any other voluntary
act, ipso facto, becomes entitled to claim reservation under Article
15(4) or 16(4) as the case may be?" In Murlidhar Dayandeo Kesekar v.
Vishwanath Pandu Barde 1995 supp. (2) SCC 549 and R. Chandevarappa v.
State of Karnataka (1995) 6 SCC 309: JT (1995) 7 SC 93, the Supreme
Court has said that economic empowerment is a fundamental right to the
poor and the State is enjoined under Articles 15(3), 46 and 39 to
provide them opportunities. Thus, education, employment and economic
empowerment are some of the programmes the State has evolved and also
provided reservation in admission into educational institutions, or in
case of other economic benefits under Articles 15(4) and 46, or in
appointment to an office or a post under the State under Article
16(4).

Therefore, when a member is transplanted into the Dalits, Tribes and
OBCs, he/she must of necessity also have had undergone the same
handicaps, and must have been subjected to the same disabilities,
disadvantages, indignities or sufferings so as to entitle the
candidate to avail the facility of reservation. A candidate who had
the advantageous start in life being born in Forward Caste and had
march of advantageous life but is transplanted in Backward Caste by
adoption or marriage or conversion, does not become eligible to the
benefit of reservation either under Article 15(4) or 16(4).
Acquisition of the status of Scheduled Caste etc. by voluntary
mobility into these categories would play fraud on the Constitution,
and would frustrate the benign constitutional policy under Articles
15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution. Hence, under this judgement too,
Vasavi Bose alias Vasavi Kiro cannot claim the tribal status for
marrying the tribal man.

4. Violation of the CNT Act 1908: According to the section – 46 (1)
(a) of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act 1908, an occupancy-Raiyat who is
a member of the Scheduled Tribes may transfer with the previous
sanction of the Deputy Commissioner his right in his holding or a
portion of his holding by sale, exchange, gift or will to another
person who is a member of the Scheduled Tribas and who is a resident
within the local limits of the area of the police-station within which
the holding is situate. Of course, Vasavi Bose is a non-tribal woman,
comes from Tharpakhna of Lower Bazar Police station in Ranchi the
capital city of Jharkhand.  But she illegally bought 2.99 acre of
tribal land. According to the investigation report of the Circre
Officer (CO), Burmu, Vasavi Orien is a daughter of late Praful Kumar
(Oraon) resident of Kotari village comes under Burmu police station in
Ranchi district. The Circle Officer (CO) further writes that Vasavi
owns 1.55 acres of land elsewhere and comes from the Oraon tribal
community of Kotari village. Hence, 1.41 acres of land of Mangra Oraon
can be transferred in her name, which does not violate the rights of
land owner in any manner. Thus, Vasavi Bose became the owner of 2.99
acres of tribal land, which is a gross violation of the Chhota Nagpur
Tenancy Act, 1908. Therefore, the land should be returned to the
original land owners.

5. Deputy Commissioner defies the Law: According to the section – 46
(1) (a) of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act 1908, an occupancy-Raiyat,
who is a member of the Scheduled Tribes may transfer his land with the
previous sanction of the Deputy Commissioner. Despite having such a
strong land law, a non-tribal woman Vasavi Bose could able to transfer
2.99 acres of tribal land in her name. How? According to the
investigation report of the Circle Officer (CO), Burmu, Vasavi owns
1.55 acres of land elsewhere and comes from the Oraon tribal community
of Kotari village, which comes under Burmu police station of Ranchi
district. Hence, she is given permission to transfer 1.44 acres of
land of Mangra Oraon. On the basis of this report, the Deputy
Commissioner also ordered for the land transfer. Is CO and DC
influence by someone?

The victim of this saga of land grab, Mangra, claims that fake legal
papers were made in the court and the permission for transfer of his
1.41 acres of land was given on that basis. He questions that how the
affidavit and other legal papers were prepared in his name in the
court, without his presence in the court? The illegal land grab is not
uncommon in Jharkhand. The history of last three centuries is full of
land grab and mass struggle against it. But the saga of Mangra is
unique because the land grabber is not other than the so-called guard
of the tribals. Secondly, the land was grabbed in the name of welfare
of the tribals and thirdly, three editors of the leading media groups
denied carrying the story of an unconstitutional and illegal land grab
in their daily news papers. Can you imagine how powerful the land
grabber is? Will Mangra be able to fight against such powerful lobby?
Can government take legal action against Vasavi Bose for violating the
Indian Constitution? Will Government take any action against the
Circle Officer and the Deputy Commissioner for defying the
Constitution and Laws? And the most important question, which may
remain unanswered, is will Mangra get back his land?

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and General Secretary of
Jharkhand Human Rights Movement. He can be reached at
gladsonhractivist@gmail.com

http://jharkhandmirror.org/