Activists and opposition politicians cry foul, say the government demolished the homes of ‘landless people’
NEW DELHI — Assam government on Monday demolished homes of 800 families in a Muslim dominated greater Dholpur area of Darrang district’s Sipajhar revenue circles to clear 4,500 bighas of land of “illegal encroachments”.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed “happiness” at the eviction of people as he said the exercise will enable community farming in the area. Four religious structures and a private institution were also demolished, Sarma said.
1000s of poor Bengali-descent Muslims – are being violently evicted from their land & homes in Assam, as part of the communal, genocidal & xenophobic policy of the BJP State Govt. This is illegal eviction not "illegal encroachment" – stop it NOW. https://t.co/ecionEkTkq
— CPIML Liberation (@cpimlliberation) September 21, 2021
The Times of India reported that 14 JCBs were put into service to demolish the homes. The civil administration was aided by 1,500 disaster response and paramilitary forces to scuttle any chance of resistance by the locals.
The locals said that they received the eviction notices only two days back and did not get a chance to relocate. They said they have been living there for 40 years but now suddenly have nowhere to go. Mir Siraj Ul Haq, a local shopkeeper, told the Times of India that all the 22 shops in the area were dismantled resulting in loss of 30 lakh rupees.
The eviction drive has sparked criticism of the government as activists and opposition politicians said that the government demolished the homes of “landless people”.
Responding to the report of eviction, Congress MP Abdul Khaleque revived his demand that he had made in June for putting such exercise in “abeyance”. Khaleque said: “Considering the Covid-19 pandemic, a full bench of Hon’ble Gauhati High Court headed by chief justice, vide its order dated 10.05.2021 has ordered that any decree for eviction/dispossession or demolition should remain in abeyance.”
Considering the COVID-19 Pandemic, a full bench of Hon'ble Gauhati High Court headed by Chief Justice, vide its order dated 10.05.2021 has ordered that any decree for eviction/ dispossession or demolition should remain in abeyance . pic.twitter.com/iJfaSR3q89
— Abdul Khaleque (@MPAbdulKhaleque) September 20, 2021
CPI-ML lambasted the government calling the move a part of communal, genocidal and xenophobic policy of the BJP State Govt” in which “1000s of poor Bengali-descent Muslims – are being violently evicted from their land and homes in Assam. This is illegal eviction not ‘illegal encroachment’ – stop it now,” the party said in a tweet.