Assam Police Firing: Fourth consecutive day without evictions in Dhalpur

Farmers and workers observing Bharat Bandh also demand justice for victims and survivors of Thursday’s shooting

Police Firing

As the nation’s peasants, workers, and members of trade and students’ unions came together to hold a nationwide strike or Bharat Bandh protesting the various anti-people laws of the regime, they also expressed solidarity with families that were first forced out of their homes and then shot at by Assam Police last Thursday.

Farmers’ organisations participating in the Bharat Bandh in Assam, such as Asom Sramik Union, Jharkhandi Adibashi Sangram Parishad, Asom Khetiok Sanstha and many others as well as political parties led by the CPI (ML) Liberation, demanded justice for the evicted families, and action against errant officials.

It is noteworthy that on Saturday, a large number of organisations including Bangla Nagarik Mancha, Jatiya Bangla Sanmelan, Bangla Sanskritik Mancha, Ekusher Daak, Jay Bhim India Network, All India Students Association, Bandimukti Committee, Sara Bharat Pragatishil Mahila Samiti, Biplabi Yuba Association, All India People Forum, People Front of India, Sahamon, Bhasa o Chetana Samiti, Pashchimbanga Ganasanskriti Parisad, Friends of Democracy, and many other had held a huge protest outside Assam Bhavan in demanding the resignation of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and action against his brother Sushanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the Superintendent of Police of Darrang district where the shooting took place.

Forced to play on the backfoot, the state government then tried to change the conversation to peddle its own version of events. Nur Haque, who is the regional president of Sipajhar Anchalik wing of the All Assam Minorities Students Union (AAMSU) told SabrangIndia that two people – his brother Asmot Ali, who is the former president of Baznapathar Gaon Panchayat and Chand Mahmud, who is the President of the Sanuwa Gaon Panchayat – were called last night by the police on the pretext of holding a discussion about the Dhalpur incident. But as soon as they reached the police station, they were arrested by the police. The actions of the police follow from the Chief Minister’s allegations that influential “outsiders” had instigated the evicted families to attack the police personnel precising over the demolition of their huts.

Assam Chief Minister had famously claimed after the shooting, that “10,000 people had gathered and attacked the police personnel present on the spot with sharp weapons, forcing them to fire in self-defence.” However, a fact-finding investigation by members of CPI (ML) Liberation found that the evicted families were armed with nothing but sticks and were thus no match against the police’s fire power. Moreover, not TV news crew was on the spot to cover the demolitions, which is why there is no photographic or videographic proof of these “10,000 people”. Moreover, the few videos shot by people present on the spot only corroborate the findings of the CPI (ML) Liberation team.

The only non-traumatic outcome of the September 23 tragedy has been that evictions have come to a grinding halt in the region. No one has been thrown out of their homes, not have any huts been demolished in Dhalpur in the last four days. However, those who are already displaced are forced to find shelter under makeshift tents and tin sheds, amidst the heavy monsoon rain in a flood-prone riverine region of Assam, not to mention the raging Covid-19 pandemic.


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