Assam Evictions

A recent history of evictions

Print edition : October 22, 2021

A woman calls for help after her house was demolished during an eviction drive inside the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary on the outskirts of Guwahati city on November 28, 2017. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar

The Assam forest department using elephants to demolish houses at Bandardubi village on the periphery of the Kaziranga National Park, on September 19, 2016. The authorities had ordered the demolition of around 300 houses in three villages to evict people living on the periphery of the rhino sanctuary. Photo: Anupam Nath/AP

Eviction drives have been carried out in Sivasagar, Nagaon, Marigaon, Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), Barpeta, Dhubri, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Nalbari, Biswanath, Charaideo, Hojai, Goalpara, Sonitpur, and Golaghat districts, apart from Darrang.

Eviction drives have been carried out in Sivasagar, Nagaon, Marigaon, Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), Barpeta, Dhubri, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Nalbari, Biswanath, Charaideo, Hojai, Goalpara, Sonitpur, and Golaghat districts, apart from Darrang. In a submission made before the Assam State Assembly on August 6, 2021, in response to a question raised by Chenga MLA Ashraful Hussain, the Minister of Revenue and Disaster Management provided details of the post-2016 evictions. In Barpeta, evictions were carried out to clear land at Gaurijhar of Dhanbanda Gaon from Barpeta Revenue Circle, Cow reserve of Ganakkuchi village, government land from Sankuchi village, government land near a river from Metikuchi village and government land beside the road of Jati village, Shree Shree Haridev Satra land from Bahori village under Chenga revenue circle, five bighas of land of crematorium from Sathbhoni’s Tup village under Barnagar revenue circle, 20 bighas allocated land for drainage of Barpeta Municipality in Katajhar Patar village, and hostel of Adarsha Vidyalay from Titapani Mouza of Shoupur village under Kalgachiya revenue circle. However, none of the families that were evicted were given any compensation or land for resettlement.

In Darrang, evictions were carried out to clear land at Fuhurtuli, Hiloikhunda, Paniyakhat, Shapowatari, Gomishkiya Pothar, Khator Pothar, kekuruwa, Baghpori Chapori, no. 1 Gadhowa, no. 3 Dholpur, Dargaon Town, Bechimari, Kuruwa Chapri, South Kuruwa, Mangaldoi town, Nech Logajan, Barogola, and Dargaon Khuti. However, none of the people ousted have been given any compensation.

As many as 3,000 bighas of land had been cleared after evicting encroachers in Hojai. However, the evicted people will only be given land at the “right time” and that too “depending on citizenship”.

In Lakhimpur, evictions were carried out in North Lakhimpur, Naoboicha, Bihpuriya, Narayanpur, Kadam and Shawanshiri. Here too, no compensation was paid or relocation land given.

In Nagaon, eviction was carried out to clear government land from Charhi Nanke Under Roha Revenue Circle, Harbor, Chirmola and Dangori Pond, Bechamari under Dhing Revenue Circle, Dhupguri, Datodraba, Barhicha Satra, Atuyatika Pokhar under Sadar Revenue Circle, Bandardubi under Kaliyabor Revenue Circle, Palkhuwa, Deuchur chang, Jhokholabanda Town and Garubanadhath. Here, 12 families were given one kata of land each for rehabilitation under Dhing circle. (Kata is a local unit of measurement of land area and is approximately equal to 2,880 square feet.)

In Sivasagar, evictions were carried out to clear land at revenue circle of Sivasagar Nagar Mahal, Meteka Bongaon, Betbari, Kuwarpur and Jakaichuk Mouza, Pohugarh under Amguri revenue circle of Jaysagar village, historic Rudrasagar from Rudrasagar village, Ali Kahor from Shalguri village, illegally occupied land from Mohan Hazarika Ali Kash, historic Gaurisagar pond from Fukanphudiya village and near Namdang river from Namdang Kumar village. So far, in terms of redistribution of land, two katas were allocated to 12 landless families each.

In Sonitpur, evictions were carried out in at Tezpur, Thelamara, Dhekiyajuli, Chariduwar and Laduwar. But no compensation was paid and no land was offered for resettlement of evicted families either.

It is clear then, that over the past five years since the BJP came to power in Assam, thousands of bighas of land have been “cleared” after evicting families dubbed as “encroachers”, with only a few dozen families having been given land for relocation purposes.

Coming to more recent happenings, eviction drives are disproportionately targeting members of the Muslim community. Some recent examples:

May 17, 2021: 25 families evicted from Dighali chapori, Laletup, Bharaki Chapori, Bhoirobi and Baitamari in Sonitpur District. These are flood-prone riverine areas.

June 6, 2021: 74 families evicted from Kaki in Hojai District. Roughly 80 per cent of the population here is Muslim.

June 7, 2021: 49 families evicted from Dhalpur, Phuhurtuli in Darrang district. All, except one family, are Muslim.

August 7, 2021: 61 families evicted from Alamganj in Dhubri district. 90 per cent of the population here is Muslim.

September 20, 2021: Around 200 families evicted from Fuhuratoli, Dhalpur in Darrang district.

 

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