Efforts for evicting illegal encroachers in Dholpur going on since 1983, many Assamese people murdered: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Guwahati, Sept 27: While a video of the violent incident during eviction drive carried out by the administration of Assam’s Darrang district at Garukhuti Dholpur area under Sipajhar assembly constituency sparked nationwide outrage, Assam Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said that, efforts for evicting the illegal encroachers in Dholpur area going on since 1983.

Two people were killed in police firing and many others including 11 police personnel injured during the clash between protesters and security forces at Dholpur area on September 23.

In this area (Dholpur) there was an effort for evicting these people (illegal encroachers) going on since 1983. In 1983, some miscreants out of these people had killed 7-8 persons. Thereafter also series of murder has happened in that area. Local Assamese people had been murdered in that area almost in a gap of 2-3 years. Various criminal activities are present there,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The Assam Chief Minister further said that the state government has ordered a CID inquiry and also a judicial probe into the incident that happened on September 23.

The Assam Chief Minister also questioned the 10,000 people who gheraoed the police personnel on that day and who was involved to mobilise the people.

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Meanwhile, the Assam police have accessed the name of six persons who were allegedly involved in the violent incident.

Earlier, the Brahma committee report in 2017 revealed that the identity and security of the indigenous people of Assam are under threat due to the continuous process of illegal Bangladeshi immigration to the state.

The previous BJP-led Assam government had formed the Brahma Committee for the protection of land rights of indigenous people of Assam and the committee is headed by former Chief Election Commissioner of India Hari Shankar Brahma and comprises of members – Rohini Kr. Baruah, Dr Ramesh Barpatra Gohain, Anil Bhattacharjee, Srikumar Dahotia and Ajoy Kumar Dutta and Rajesh Prasad as the member secretary.

In its report, the committee said that – “In recent months, gangs of illegal Bangladeshi armed with dangerous/lethal weapons have attacked the indigenous /Assamese villagers of Sipajhar/Mayong, Mukalmua/Hajo areas, particularly in the vast spreads of char lands, either by displacing the indigenous farm owners or by grabbing the new/vacant chars. Similar other instances of setting up new villages or grabbing vacant patches of Char lands are there.”

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The committee’s visits to various districts and discussion/exchange of views with various individuals/organizations connected with Satras and the few Memoranda received from and on behalf of the Satras clearly establish that organized encroachments on vast areas of lands of most of the Satras particularly those of the districts of Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Naaon, Morigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Dhubri, Bongaigaon and Goalpara, have been made mostly by a huge number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Besides, the commission of heinous crimes like the murder of Satradhikars of Adi Elengi Satra/Bor Adi Eelengi Satra, rape of women etc., now forms well-documented parts of history. The Honourable Gauhati High Court has even directed the Government of Assam to arrange adequate and appropriate security for the protection of the life and properties of the Satras and the Bhaktas including the Satradhikars. According to one estimate (North-East Policy Institute) as also various accounts given by the Satra authorities through their published statements/speeches, more than 8000 bighas of Satra land have been under encroachment by the illegal Bangladeshi encroachers,” said in the report.

The Brahma committee strongly recommended that the government should take immediate and appropriate measures to ensure that no further cross border illegal migrants are allowed which is detrimental to peace and security of the state and bold and effective steps should be initiated to evict the illegal encroachers including illegal immigrants, clear the lands under encroachment by sustained eviction operation on top priority basis and provide adequate and appropriate security measures strengthened by appropriate armed forces, where necessary.

“……prime necessity of protecting the land rights of the indigenous people of Assam who find themselves placed at a critical stage of the identity crisis-a-situation of their land rights silently and surely slipping away from their own hands – the rights which they hold dearer than their own life and which, more importantly, gives them the distinction of the very identity of their indigenous status and sustenance,” said in the Brahma committee report.