From being one of the active leaders of the Jharkhand Movement to being the first former High Court judge to be arrested during any movement, Late Justice LPN Shahdeo has been one of the major personalities who helped Jharkhand achieve the status of a separate state.
Justice Shadeo led the movement of a separate state in 1998-99, when the movement was falling apart and reviving it was a challenge. In 1998, the Union government decided to send the Bill concerning formation of Jharkhand State to Bihar assembly to which Lalu Prasad Yadav had said that the State would be divided over his dead body.
This was the time when BJP, JMM, AJSU, Congress, a total of 16 political parties got together on one platform to start the movement, thus leading to the formation of 'All Party Separate State Formation Committee'. As Justice Shahdeo was a supporter of separate State and came from a non political background, he was elected the convener of the committee.
The voting on Jharkhand Act was to be done on 21 September 1998 in Bihar Legislation. On this day the committee, under the leadership of Justice Shahdeo called for Jharkhand Bandh. A grand bandh was observed on September 21 where thousands of Jharkhand supporters took to streets with the slogans of 'Pehle Maati, Phir Party'. As Justice Shadeo led the protest march, he was arrested near Shaheed Chowk and taken to Kotwali police station where he was detained for hours along with other supporters.
This was probably a historic event in the country when a former justice was arrested and detained at police station for hours during a movement.
Justice Shahdeo had been a supporter of separate State since long and after retiring from High Court in 1992, he started supporting the movement on public platforms and through his writings in local newspapers.
He did not just motivate the public and led the Jharkhand movement but also helped in the legal issues which might have become a hurdle in formation of a separate state.
Born on January 3, 1930 in Kaamta village of Latehar district, Shahdeo became the first person of Jharkhand to become a judge in the High Court. He received primary education in a government school and completed matriculation from Balkrishna High school, Ranchi.
After getting a graduation degree from Ranchi College, Shahdeo completed law course in 1954 and started practicing at Ranchi Civil Court. In 1958 he joined judicial services and his first posting was on the post of Munsif in Hazaribagh. He became the district and session judge of Dhanbad in 1989 and was the judge at Patna High Court’s Ranchi bench from 1986 to 1992.