Out of the 19,06,657 persons excluded from final NRC in the State, 1.7 lakh are from Darrang district alone. Large number of such excluded persons are from Dholpur, Fuhuratoli and Chawulkhowa Chapori area which falls under Sipajhar revenue circle. It is the highest number of exclusion in Muslim dominated areas in Assam.
Dholpur-Fuhuratoli is one of the most backward areas of Darrang district of Assam. It is not famous because the second largest genocide took place in 1983 in its adjacent area Chawulkhowa Chapori during 6 years long Assam Movement, instead it is famous for the massive eviction drive in 2016 and 2017, just after BJP led Government took power in the State.
Background of the conflict
About 70,000 people, belonging to minority Muslim community faced the inhuman eviction in this riverine area of Brahmaputra and its tributaries like Nonoi and Na-Nadi. The eviction drive was necessary as the people living in the area came from undivided Kamrup and Goalpara District due to massive river erosion and settled in this area buying some land from some local people which is mostly PGR (Protected Grazing Reserve), VGR (Village Grazing Reserve) and even some deserted Patta Land, as the local indigenous Assamese people couldn’t co-exist with the river.
The conflict became eminent when the newly settled poor but hard-working Muslim people started tilling the deserted land and growing golden grains, supplying one third of the daily vegetables needed for Guwahati city fighting all hurdles of the nature. When the local indigenous people observed that the economic condition of hard working Muslim people is in pace, they gathered behind various umbrella organizations of Sangh Pariwar, they vociferously raised the demand tagging these newly settled people as Bangladeshi and demand for their eviction.
The eviction drive that was taken by the Government authority, not only evicted the people living in PGR and VGR, the even evicted huge number of people, who were living in permanent patta land. At least five persons including children and women died due to this eviction drive. In the meantime, the Gauhati High Court order compelled the Government authority to stop the inhuman eviction drive and the Muslim people resumed normal life again.
Present day impact
In the meantime, the final draft NRC that was published in 31 July, 2018 became a big hurdle for these poor and distressed people. About 60% people of these riverine area were left out of final draft NRC. Taking stock of the situation, volunteers from CJP, AAMSU, Krishak Mukti Sangraam Samiti and Satra Mukti Sangraam Samiti swung into action. About one hundred volunteers of CJP and others worked day and night for filling in NRC reclaim applications, collection and compilation of documents, helped people during hearing process.
But the final NRC that was published on 31st August, 2019 proved that all these efforts were not enough. About 40% reclaim applications were rejected in these areas allegedly without having any reasonable grounds. It may be recalled that 19,06,657 persons excluded from final NRC in the State, 1.7 lakh are from Darrang district alone. Large number of such excluded persons are from Dholpur, Fuhuratoli and Chawulkhowa Chapori area which falls under Sipajhar revenue circle. It is the highest number of exclusion in Muslim dominated areas in Assam.
According to CJP volunteer Motivator, Saddam Hussain, “People have been dropped from final NRC in Dholpur, Fuhuratoli or Chawulkhowa Chapori area not because of they have no documents, it is because of biased attitude of the officials involved in NRC works. There is rarely a family, in which all members of same ARN have been included in final NRC.” Muzzamel Hussain a CJP paralegal team member shed further light on this bizarre exclusion saying, “Some of the family members have been included in final NRC in these areas but some members of same ARN have been dropped, though they have submitted same documents.”
CJP which has been constantly working for inclusion of names of genuine Indian Citizens in the updated NRC has given maximum emphasis in this riverine area. Zamser Ali, the State Coordinator for CJP on NRC works in Assam along with CJP paralegal team member Saddam Hussain, Hari Prasad Nepal and others reached the area on 10th of September, 2019. The team had rounds of meeting with advocates in Mangaldoi, educated and energetic youth in the region. In these meetings the most important issue surfaced is that most people are not aware of their documents. Moreover, it is matter of concern to all that every family has 2-5 NRC excluded persons. “To run a Foreigners case in FT they have to cost 30-50 thousands rupees. In this situation, how these poor people will be able to gather the huge amount for running 2-7 cases of their families,” asked Muhammed Ali, a CJP community volunteer of Dholpur.
The State coordinator for CJP Assam, assured the local people that CJP paralegal team members Saddam Hussain and Hari Prasad Nepal, both of them have appeared the final Examination of Law will stay along with their team, in the area till finalization of NRC. They will help in the compilation of all documents. CJP is now trying to collaborate with some humanitarian lawyers so that each and every case can be heard before Foreigners’ Tribunals effectively. The State coordinator for CJP Assam, Zamser Ali, also requests all human rights organizations and individuals to stand by the poor, marginalized and distressed people in this great humanitarian crisis.