Other States

War of words over Assam eviction

Members of the All Assam Students’ Union, along with those of 30 indigenous organisations, hold a torchlight rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Guwahati on January 11, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

Over a month after an eviction drive, officials in Sonitpur district of Assam have been accused of having selectively targeted 426 Muslim families at the behest of the local BJP MLA.

But the officials have said these families had encroached upon government land, had their petitions rejected by the Gauhati High Court twice and were in the way of a four-lane highway project. Furthermore, they said, the process of eviction, carried out on December 5 and 6, had begun in 2018.

On December 27, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) said in a statement that the people of the Sootea Assembly constituency “have been let down” by their BJP MLA Padma Hazarika.

Nearly 1,800 people of the 426 families “were evicted mercilessly by the district administration, and their homes were demolished on December 6 at his behest”.

A JIH team, led by its national secretary Mohammad Ahmed, visited the evicted families who have been living in temporary sheds in the adjoining Tezpur constituency that Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) veteran Brindaban Goswami represents.

‘Communal colour’

Mr. Hazarika could not be contacted, but one of his loyalists said the MLA was being “unnecessarily dragged into a government drive against encroachers” that had been given a communal colour.

“A section is creating a controversy out of a non-issue. The families evicted had come from elsewhere and built unauthorised houses on the bed of the Jia-Bhoreli river that shifted course, westward, towards Tezpur, ” Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner Manvinder Pratap Singh told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 1:14:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/war-of-words-over-assam-eviction/article30545320.ece

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