Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
GUWAHATI – The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Assam has come under fire over its eviction drive which is being seen as mostly targeting the minority community.
Abdul Khelque, Congress MP from Assam’s Barpeta district, on Thursday visited the eviction site and met the victims. Talking to Clarion India, he said that these evictions were mostly targeted at the minority community. Sometimes, non-minorities are also targeted.
“I’m against all kinds of evictions if they are carried out without a rehabilitation plan. It does not matter whose house is demolished. But mostly, they demolish houses belonging to members of minority communities,” said Khaleque.
On Monday, 40 families were evicted from the Kanara Satra area ostensibly to free public land from alleged illegal encroachment. A week before, a major eviction drive was carried out at Batadrava Than in Nagaon district.
Last week, speaking in the state assembly, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said his government would continue the eviction process and “there is no point talking about it”.
“Eviction is a continuous process and it won’t stop. We will clear forest and government land (across the state) as well as in Batadrava,” he said.
When Congress MLA Rakibul Hussain urged the government to look after the basic needs such as drinking water and food for the evicted people in Batadrava, the Chief Minister maintained that there was no policy to provide water to the evicted people.
Khaleque has also raised the issue of eviction in Lok Sabha (the lower house of parliament). He had moved an adjournment motion on the subject.
“The government of Assam has carried out evictions at several places across the state including the recent one at Batadrava. The entire exercise is being done without any plan for proper rehabilitation of the evicted persons and all actions are against a particular community. These kinds of actions are against the very spirit of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution,” Khaleque’s motion said.
“Article 14 of the Constitution of India says that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the law within the territory of India. In the eviction drive we can see that neither the people are treated equally before law nor provided equal protection of law,” it added.
Khaleque told Clarion India that, upon scrutiny of title deeds, he has found out that all the evicted people had legitimately bought the land from the sellers.
“The government should not only demolish the houses of the poor. It should take action against those who sold the land to them,” he said.
Other political leaders have also raised their voices against evictions. Congress MLA from Baghbor Assembly constituency, Sherman Ali, staged a protest, demanding rehabilitation of those evicted.
Ali told the media, “The government must stop evictions without giving suitable rehabilitation to the victims. I demand that these people be rehabilitated within one month.”
Ahmed Hassan Imran, former Rajya Sabha MP and the editor of Puber Kalom, wrote a letter to draw attention towards the evictions.
“The BJP government in Assam, led by the Chief Minister Mr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, has committed many atrocities against Muslims, such as shutting down of state-funded madrassa institutions, bludgeoning of even private madrassas and killing of Muslim youths in false police encounters etc. Moreover, under the active vigilance of Honourable Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, thousands of Muslims are being evicted from their villages,” said TMC leader Imran.