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Kurmi Organisations To Initiate Rail Blockade Protests for Scheduled Tribe Status

Multiple Kurmi organisations have jointly called for an indefinite rail blockade at nine railway stations across the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha, commencing from September 20. Their demand is rooted in the pursuit of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Kurmi community, coupled with the inclusion of the Kurmali language within the eighth schedule of the Constitution. Presently, in these three states, the Kurmi community is categorized as Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Sheetal Ohdar, President of the Totemik Kurmi Vikas Morcha (TKVM), a prominent advocate for Kurmi rights in Jharkhand, revealed on Monday that this movement is a collaborative effort involving various organisations, including the Adivasi Kurmi Samaj of West Bengal and the Kurmi Sena of Odisha.

The indefinite agitation is slated to commence at nine key railway stations: Muri, Gomoh, Nimdih, and Ghagra in Jharkhand; Khemasuli and Kustaur in West Bengal; and Harichandanpur, Jaraikela, and Dhanpur in Odisha, all commencing on September 20, as confirmed by Ohdar during a press briefing.

Ohdar noted, “Thousands of Kurmi community members are expected to participate in the protest, adorned in traditional attire, accompanied by drums and various musical instruments. They will showcase cultural performances, including Chhau dance, Pata dance, Natuwa dance, Horse dance, and Jhumar dance.”

This marks the second significant demonstration by the Kurmi community within two years, rallying behind the same set of demands.

Chennai court to pronounce orders on Senthil Balaji’s bail plea

A Chennai Court is set to announce its verdict today regarding the bail plea of DMK Minister V Senthil Balaji. The minister has been arrested in connection with a money laundering case under the purview of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Balaji’s legal counsel has asserted that the case is politically motivated, while the ED maintains that there exists prima facie evidence of a predicate offence, justifying further investigation. Principal Sessions Judge S Alli has reserved orders after hearing extensive arguments from both sides.

Senior Counsel Kabil Sibal, representing Balaji, highlighted that the alleged sum of Rs 1.34 crore pertains to the period when Balaji served as a Minister from November 2014 to July 2015. He underscored that Balaji had filed Income Tax returns and provided explanations that were accepted by the Income Tax department. As per legal standards, the presumption favors Balaji, and the burden of rebutting it falls on the ED, a task that can only be fulfilled during the trial, Sibal emphasized. He concluded that the entire proceedings seemed tainted by malicious intent.

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