New Delhi: Nearly 5,000 people including children and elderly persons have been forced to live under the open sky in Assam's Darrang district since they were evicted from government land by the local administration on Monday, according to a preliminary fact-finding report. The group report called for the immediate provision of shelter, food and legal assistance to families displaced from their land.
The preliminary report was prepared by Shafi Madani in collaboration with Assam North Jamaat-e-Islami, Society for Bright Future, All Assam Minority Students Union and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. The evicted people on Monday belonged to the 800 families from Dholpur village in the Sifajar district.
These families have been living in the open for three days without adequate food and shelter. The evictions took place on Monday and Tuesday as a continuation of this. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing 100 families by truck. It is said that the eviction is part of a multi-faceted agricultural project to provide employment to the indigenous youth of Assam. However, the government had said that the land belonged to the Kali temple.
The report also pointed out that several families have been forcibly evicted from their homes ever since the BJP came into power.
The report also revealed that the majority were Muslims. Three months ago, 300 families were evicted in the Dhubri district. In 2019, 445 families were evicted in the Bishwanath district. After that, evictions took place in Kaziranga as well. They have all lost their homes and are living without shelter. The aids given in the name of government assistance has proven to be not adequate. The report called for a proper study of the government's eviction drive and a legal battle in the High Court or the Supreme Court.
The violent incident at the village on a sandbar, Dholpur, falls under the Sipajhar revenue circle of the district.
Several were injured and two were killed instantly. Saddam Hussein and Sheikh Fareed were among those killed. The body of one of them was trampled by a photographer who was with the police. Most of the evictees are Bengali-speaking Muslims.
This is the second eviction by the BJP government in three months. Last June, 49 Muslim families and one Hindu family were evacuated.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma in Guwahati defended that the police were doing their job and that the eviction will continue.