Image Courtesy: hindutvawatch.org
Following the tragic Dhalpur eviction and the brutal killing of Sheikh Farid and Mainul Haque by personnel of the Assam Police as they opened fire on Gorukhuti villagers who were protesting their forced eviction, there has been widespread outrage in the state.However, many places located in Barak and Brahmaputra Valley have now become the new targets ofthese state sponsored illegal eviction drives.
The eviction drives of the Sarma government, which clearly targets the Muslim community, have been running unregulated in the state. In December 2022, during the winter session of the Assam Legislative Assembly, which was held immediately after the evacuation ofBatadraba, Assam’s Nagoan district.Even at the time, the legislators of the opposition had raised the issue in the Assembly, but the Chief Minister HimantaBiswaSarmahad clearly, with the air of impunity, had stated that these eviction drives are to clear government and forest land in Assam, and will continue as long as the BJP governs the state.
On February 15, 2023, with a huge posse of armed security personnel, the Sonitpur district administration had started the most recent eviction drives. The said eviction drive is slated to be carried out on nearly 1,892 hectares of land at the BurhaChapori Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River.
According to the administration of Sanitpur district,the drive will continue for three days. It is pertinent to mention that a huge number of Assam Police and the CRPF, along with staffers from civil administration and the forest department, are engaged in the carrying out of this exercise.
Harkumar Goswami, convener of forum for social harmony, prominent social worker and writer, strongly opposed this inhumane eviction drives. Speaking with the Sabrang India team, he said that “Poor farmers and laborers have been and are being targeted in the name of squatter eviction from government land. Most of the eviction victims are also river erosion landless people. Instead of giving land and the patta, this government continues to evict them one by one”.
He continued, “The government has evicted poor farmers,especially from the Muslim areas, while on the other hand, they have given lakhs of bigha land to businessmen like Baba Ramdev and others in last two years.”
He then added that, “The democratic and secular people should get together andstart a democratic movement against these inhumane evictions, and the fascist BJP government.”
Meanwhile, students preparing to take the Assam Board’s final examination leveled serious accusations against the Assam Police Force and their actions. One student was heard saying that “Are these people police or thugs? They are beating up students, and one has already been taken to the hospital after a police officer broke his head with a stick.”
One female student claimed, “Male police officers pushed the girls and other women, and also touched them inappropriately.”
Another female student bemoaned, “Our exam is approaching, how will we study now with all of this going on? They are sabotaging our future.” “We are told to read now because they destroyed our houses; how could we read now?” she continued.
Full video can be viewed here:
On the other hand, a woman could be seen pleading to the administration, asking for some time. She said, “Give us 4 to 5 days to take away our belongings, we are losing everything, we have worked hard to grow vegetables and now we are in huge loss.
She went on, “If you (the government) extract us, we will be forced to stay on the riverbank. We are erosion victims; we used to live in Char, but now we have no land.” Questioning and requesting the Authority, the woman said, “You are extracting us now give us some land to stay or where will we go?”
Sharing the sentiments, another woman, who was a mother, could be seen making a similar appeal to the authorities, saying “The exam is approaching, and the children are unable to study,”
Another farmer from the evicted area raised some serious concerns. He said, “We had all planted vegetables worth crores of rupees, and the eviction destroyed the fields. As a result, the price of vegetables in the town or city will skyrocket.”
He also added, “They (the administration) harass us by terming us ‘Bangladeshis’. Every time, the word is used for the Muslims living in the state, even though we are India. Why doesn’t the government conduct a survey in the village to find out who is actually a Bangladeshi? If they find one, throw that person out, we will raise no objections.”
Full video can be viewed here:
It is critical to note that when Congress MLA Nurul Huda visited the eviction site, the media, he had stated “I couldn’t find a Magistrate Level Office where I could speak. Only the forest department is involved in the drive.”
He also displayed some tax receipts and claimed, “Since 1963, the government has been collecting taxes from these people. If it is forest land, why were these lands given to these people and taxed?”
Furthermore, as was provided by the District Volunteer Members and community volunteers of Dhubri district, another eviction notice was hung in the Golokganj Circle Office under Dhubri district today.
The said notice read as follows: It here by notified to all that a 127(B) four-way road construction is going on. Therefore, all are requested to shift their house, shops, Temples, Mosques, schools, colleges or any organisational building or wall or any other illegal building on the government land, which comes under the radius of 150 feet, within 48 hours post the publication of this notice. Otherwise, as per the direction of the Deputy Commissioner, an eviction drive will be continued as per law. The eviction notice is signed by the Circle Officer of the Golokganj Circle Office.
The copy of the notice can be viewed here: