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Terror in Latehar

In the past few years, villages of Manika Block in Latehar District have been terrorised by Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad (JJMP), a police-sponsored outfit allegedly aimed at countering Maoist influence. JJMP gangs roam in the area and harass innocent villagers, extorting money, interfering with elections, supporting corrupt contractors, beating up dissenters, and even attempting to siphon off funds from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

Among other recent incidents is the harassment of members of Gram Swaraj Mazdoor Sangh (GSMS), a local organisation of MGNREGA workers set up with the help of MGNREGA Sahayata Kendra, Manika. During the last few months, GSMS and the Sahayata Kendra have worked together to revive MGNREGA in the area and ensure that people get work. The two outfits also convened a public hearing on the public distribution system (PDS) on 19 February 2016, which led to the dismissal of several PDS dealers. These activities have earned them the ire of JJMP. One of them was badly beaten up just a few days ago, on 26 April.

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