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Pathalgarhi case: SC seeks Jharkhand’s reply on withdrawing sedition cases against four tribal activists

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has asked the newly-elected Jharkhand government to clarify whether it wants to withdraw cases against four tribal activists booked under sedition charges for allegedly writing Facebook posts supporting the Pathalgarhi movement in the state.

The top court was informed by the accused that the Hemant Soren government in the state had, in one of the first decisions of the Cabinet, announced that it would take back all criminal cases related to the movement.

Pathalgarhi is a name given to a tribal protest which seeks autonomy for village sabhas (gram sabhas).

Those demanding Pathalgarhi want no laws of the land be applicable on the tribal people in the area.

The Pathalgarhis reject government rights over their forests and rivers. Pathalgarhis erect a stone plaque or signboard outside the village/area, declaring the village a sovereign territory and prohibiting the entry of outsiders.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta asked standing counsel for Jharkhand, Tapesh Kumar Singh to inform it in two weeks about any decision of withdrawal of cases.

“List after two weeks. In the meanwhile, learned counsel for the state of Jharkhand is directed to get instructions as to whether the state intends to proceed with the criminal cases registered against the petitioners,” the bench said.