2 killed during Assam eviction drive, CM says action came after armed encroachers attacked cops

About 800 families of Bengali-speaking Muslims were illegally occupying about 4,500 bighas of govt land and the Himanta govt decided to use the land for agricultural purposes.

Published: 23rd September 2021 07:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2021 07:59 PM   |  A+A-

Screengrab of cops clashing with the encroachers at Dholpur in Darrang district of Assam. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Two civilians were killed and several others injured when a mob of scores of people clashed with the police during an eviction drive in Assam on Thursday.

The incident occurred at Dholpur in the Darrang district. Eleven policemen were among the injured. An injured cop was rushed to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital in Guwahati.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the police had to take action as the mob, protesting the eviction drive, attacked the personnel with sticks, machetes, and spears. He said the drive would continue on Friday.

An estimated 800 families of Bengali-speaking Muslims were illegally occupying about 4,500 bighas of government land and the government recently decided to use the land for agricultural purposes by evicting the settlers.

The eviction drive on Monday passed off peacefully. A lot of families dismantled their houses themselves and moved elsewhere. After a break of two days when the drive was re-launched on Thursday, the others tried to put up a resistance leading to the violence.

The incident drew widespread protests.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Assam is on state-sponsored fire. I stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the state - no children of India deserve this”.

ALSO READ | Illegal immigrants pouring in via Tamil Nadu coast? Lapse in coastal security sees 100 people entering state

CPI(ML) politburo member Kavita Krishnan raised questions on the police firing. “What protocol orders firing to the chest of a lone man coming running with a stick @DGPAssamPolice @assampolice? Who is the man in civil clothes with a camera who repeatedly jumps with bloodthirsty hate on the body of the fallen (probably dead) man?” she asked, sharing a video of the incident on Twitter.

The man holding the camera was said to be working with the administration.

Rafiqul Islam, an MLA of minority-based All India United Democratic Front, slammed the CM saying the latter planned the drive to please Nagpur.

“God will give justice. Eviction for cultivation is fine but it should have been done after rehabilitating these landless people,” Islam said.

State Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah condemned the “barbaric act” of police firing. “The very act of eviction is itself inhuman, especially during the Covid situation. The Supreme Court had also given a directive against eviction during the pandemic, yet the Assam government has remained adamant behaving in an autocratic manner to evict the residents who have been living in the area since the 1970s,” Borah said.

He said the government should have arranged for rehabilitation and alternative housing ahead of the eviction drive.

BJP national general secretary Dilip Saikia said the people were served notices before the drive. “These are Bangladeshi nationals. They settled there a few years ago after grabbing government land,” Saikia said.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp