Assam eviction drive to clear over 1,200 bighas of alleged encroached land

The eviction drive is being carried out in four villages to clear encroached government land, the SP said

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NH Digital

The largest eviction drive in Assam's Nagaon district began on Monday amid tight security, a senior police officer said. The exercise is being carried out in and around Batadrava Than, near the birthplace of Vaishnav saint Srimanta Sankardeva.

The eviction drive began early in the Santijan bazaar area. Official sources said that over 700 police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the greater Batadrava area and mobilisation of forces have been taking place for the last 3-4 days.

As a part of precautionary measure, the state government has directed the nearby Morigaon district administration to be on alert to cooperate in the eviction drive, sources added.

District administration officials claimed that notices were sent to around 1,000 alleged encroacher families during October, asking them to clear the land.

The eviction drive is being carried out in four villages to clear encroached government land, the SP said.

"After Santijan Bazaar we will clear land in Haidubi area and depending on the time taken there, we will take a decision on carrying out the drive in the remaining two villages," Doley said.

The eviction drive to clear over 1,200 bighas of alleged encroached land will take place over the next few days in areas under the Dhing revenue circle.

Heavy security arrangements have been made in the area and the police force, headed by senior officers, is camping here since December 13 with flag marches held here since then, the SP said.

"... people have cooperated with us ... ," she said.

More than 80 per cent of the people have dismantled their houses, shops and other structures and moved out.

On September 12, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the Assam Assembly that a total of 4,449 families have been evicted across the state for alleged encroachment since the BJP-led government took charge for the second time in May last year.

Sarma had said that the government did not carry out any investigation on the citizenship of evicted families to find out if they were Indian nationals or foreigners.

He had further stated that the government was also not aware if the families, who encroached upon the government land, were homeless people due to erosion.

The affected people have appealed to the government to provide them with alternative arrangements and they will continue to cooperate with the administration.

Clearing of encroachment, particularly of sattra land, was BJP's major poll issue in the last assembly election.

This is the second major large-scale eviction drive with the first in Dhalpur area of Darrang district which led to violence, resulting in the death of two persons and over 20 injured in September, 2021.

Back on May 23, the Assam administration has demolished the houses of people who were allegedly involved in setting fire to a police station while protesting an alleged custodial death.

The demolition took place at Salonabari of Assam’s Nagaon district on Sunday, May 23. The houses of five families were destroyed in it.

This demolition drive follows similar ones that have been taken up in New Delhi’s Jahangirpuri and Shaheen Bagh, Khargone in Madhya Pradesh, Anand in Gujarat and several places in Uttar Pradesh. Residents there have alleged that the drives have targeted Muslim properties.

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