CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said the BJP-led Assam government evicted the people in Darrang district violently because they are Muslims.
One thousand evicted families have been treated worse than prisoners of war and their condition was the “worst nightmare of what a Hindu rashtra’s agenda actually is”, she alleged.
Two people, including a minor, were shot by the police during an eviction drive on September 23 and several others injured. According to the government, these people were encroachers on 77,000 bighas of government land that needed to be freed for an integrated farming project for the indigenous communities.
Ms. Karat had led a CPI(M) delegation along with party’s Central Committee member Suprakash Talukdar and MLA Monoranjan Talukdar to Darrang district’s Garukhuti and Dhalpur 1, 2 and 3 villages to meet the evicted people on Wednesday.
“We have seen with our own eyes how this shameless government gave them just 12-hour notice, came with a big police force, evicted them, bulldozed their houses, did not care about women and children and fired to kill two people and injure many others,” she told journalists in Guwahati on Thursday.
“There are about 1,000 families of poor peasants who have been tilling the land for the last 50 years. They have all documents to prove they are Indian citizens and are landowners with many of them registered in the 1951 NRC [National Register of Citizens]. Yet they are living in unbelievable conditions, treated worse than prisoners of war,” she stated.
Claiming that “not a single paisa” had been given for their rehabilitation, she further alleged that the Hindutva agenda of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was apparent from the suffering of the members of the minority community in Darrang district.
“There is only one reason why they are deprived of their rights and that is because they belong to the Muslim community despite their families having lived in Assam for years. It is anti-national and anti-constitutional and we will fight against it,” she observed.
Letter to CM
Ms. Karat also outlined the team’s “horrifying” experience in a letter to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. “It seems that the Constitution and the legal framework is suspended in this area (Dhalpur) of Assam… The situation is a clear violation of human rights. It is an attack on the Constitution, on laws regarding eviction and resettlement and rehabilitation,” she wrote.
Ms. Karat requested the Chief Minister to immediately end all evictions and “forcible capture of the land” without a proper survey and verification and allow the families to return to their lands till such time. She also sought compensation for the people who lost their belongings and livelihood, immediate relief including food, water, temporary latrines and shelters to those evicted besides action against the police personnel involved in the killings.
In an order on September 29, the Assam Human Rights Commission found a prima facie case of violation of human rights at Garukhuti and Dhalpur but sought some clarifications from the State’s Home Department before taking cognisance of a complaint by Congress MLA Debabrata Saikia.