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Current Affairs

Assam’s conflict over land

Date: 28 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

An eviction drive against illegal encroachment took a violent turn in Assam, which led to the death of two people and left many injured.

 

Background

Assam is considered to be the hub of illegal migration that has led to illegal encroachment of government land.

 

Details

  • The sentiments on illegal migration and settlement go back several years and the incidents of clashes are not new.

  • The government was conducting an anti-encroachment drive of government land in Dholpur of Sipajhar. The majority of encroachers are Bengali-speaking Muslims.

  • The government aims to get back the land from encroachers and give it to landless indigenous communities. About 1200-1300 families were evicted during the drive.

  • The CM had promised to recover the land belonging to Dholpur Shiva Mandir and use it for construction of a guest house and a boundary wall.

 

The government’s aim

  • The government aims to convert the recovered land as community agricultural land. It would be used for Garukhuti project.

  • This project aims at promoting afforestation and agriculture activities by involving local indigenous youths.

 

The affected groups

  • Most of the evicted families are small peasants and daily wage earners. They have moved into the area after losing their homes to river erosion.

  • The land was bought from local residents and there is no document to prove their ownership of the land.

 

The arguments of locals

Many locals claim that their land has been usurped by migrants. Organisations such as Sangrami Satirtha Sammelan and Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) have spoken for indigenous community rights.

 

The start of violence

  • The All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) had demanded that rehabilitation would be made for families evicted before the drive takes place.

  • They allege that the eviction drive was carried out even though an agreement was reached between authorities and families.

  • The Police allege that some political groups made inflammatory remarks that led to civilians attacking police with sticks and they had to fire in self-defence.

 

Encroachment

  • The Brahma committee formed by previous government had said that 63 lakh bighas of government land was under “illegal occupation”. 

  • Government lands, lands around xatras (monasteries) and forest lands around national parks and sanctuaries have been encroached by migrants from Bangladesh.