Relying on the Cabinet’s decision and words of the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, pronounced on 29 December 2019, immediately after taking oath as the Chief Minister for the second time, to withdraw all the cases related to the “Pathalgadi” movement, became nightmare for the Pathalgadi warrior Paval Tuti. Khunti police arrested him once again and sent him to jail saying that he was not attending the court in the case of taking hostage of about three hundred police personnel including police officers in Kanki village on August, 24, 2017. Consequently, a warrant was again issued against him by the Khunti Court.
41-year-old Pawal Tuti is a resident of Gutwa village, which is located in Khunti police station area under Khunti district of Jharkhand. His livelihood is basically based on agriculture. Pawal is known as a social worker in the “Pathalgadi” region. Being a conscious and active Adivasi activist, he had actively participated in the “Pathalgadi” movement for the protection of land, territory and natural resources of the Adivasis. As a result, he was in the eyes of the police.
The police atrocities carried out after the then Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghuvar Das announced to crush the “Pathalgadi” movement also wreaked havoc on Pawal Tuti. A total of five cases including seditions were filed against him. Paval knew that the police would pick him up at any time from his house, so he used to camp at Gadkhatanga on the outskirts of Ranchi, on the edge of Ring Road in Namkom police station area. But the police went after them.
On June 24, 2018, at around 11 pm, the Khunti police with the help of Namkum police reached his rented house. They picked up Pavel Tuti after breaking the door while he was sleeping in the roon, and took him to the Namkum police station on the pretext of interrogation. The next day he was produced in Khunti court, then sent to Khunti jail from there. After a few days, he was shifted from Khunti Jail to Dumka Jail, where he was kept in a special cell made for the notorious criminals.
He was struggling in jail and his family was fighting the cases in Khunti Court and Jharkhand High Court to get him released. He was finally released in February 2020 after spending a year and eight months in the jail. But when he reached his home, he came to know that while fighting the case, his family was trapped in the web of financial crisis.
Pavel’s family members had paid Rs 1,56,000 to the lawyer for his release, for which, they had collected by mortgaging his agricultural land for Rs 60,000 and Rs 55,000 was withdrawn from saving. Besides, a relative gave Rs 3,000 and Shanti Sabha supported him Rs 38,000. Paval was happy and relaxed considering that now the Jharkhand government has withdrawn all the cases. But in the meantime, on 20 August 2022 at 11 pm, the Khunti police reached his house and arrested him and sent him to jail. He was shocked. Will Pawal Tuti ever trust the government after this? We should come forward to get Pawal Tuti released from jail and free his mortgaged land.
Gladson Dungdung is a human rights activist