‘We got notice just hours before the eviction drive,’ claim residents of Assam’s Dholpur | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

‘We got notice just hours before the eviction drive,’ claim residents of Assam’s Dholpur

Sep 25, 2021 12:16 AM IST

Two civilians were killed and nearly 20 others including 11 policemen were injured in violence during Thursday’s drive to evict around 500 families residing on government land for decades. A similar drive was carried out on Monday in which 800 families residing in other parts of Dholpur were evicted. There was no violence on that day.

Thirty one-year-old Ful Chand and his family of eight members haven’t cooked any meals since Wednesday night when he along with most of his neighbours in Dholpur-3 village got a notice from the Darrang district administration of Assam to vacate their houses and move away.

Ful Chand (extreme right) with his mother, wife and younger brother outside the family’s makeshift house on Friday. (Utpal Parashar.)
Ful Chand (extreme right) with his mother, wife and younger brother outside the family’s makeshift house on Friday. (Utpal Parashar.)

The vegetable vendor’s family had to collect all their belongings and move to a new location nearly a kilometre away across a small stream. They now live cramped inside a temporary shed made of tin-sheets waiting for a better place to shift to or a government rehabilitation deal allotting a new plot.

Hindustan Times - your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

“We got the notice on Wednesday evening and by Thursday morning police and district officials had arrived to evict us. We managed to collect most of our belonging and shift to this new place. We haven’t cooked any meals and are eating whatever is being provided by generous relatives living in other parts of Dholpur who haven’t been served eviction notices yet,” said Chand.

Two civilians were killed and nearly 20 others including 11 policemen were injured in violence during Thursday’s drive to evict around 500 families residing on government land for decades. A similar drive was carried out on Monday in which 800 families residing in other parts of Dholpur were evicted. There was no violence on that day.

The areas where the eviction drives are taking place are part of the Assam government’s Garukhuti Project, which aims to remove encroachers from 77,420 ‘bighas’ (25,595 acres) of land located on a massive sandbar close to the Brahmaputra river and start agricultural and other allied activities for indigenous youth there.

This year’s state budget mentioned that the government plans to “develop this cluster as a beacon of resurgent Assam” and earmarked 9.6 crore for it. Residents of these areas mostly comprise of Bengali speaking Muslims many of whom are engaged in agriculture. Though they have been living in the area for decades, none of them possess any land documents.

70-year-old Kot Banu’s family was also among those evicted on Thursday. The family, which has been residing in the area since 1985 has no land documents and have no clear idea how much land they possess.

She said they have three plots at different locations in Dholpur-3. Many residents of the area have shifted house several times as the rising waters of Brahmaputra and its distributaries that crisscross the sandbar erode away their agriculture plots and houses.

“Instead of forcing us to leave our houses at such short notice and resorting to violence, the government should have first allotted us some alternate land where we could have shifted. What was the hurry to remove us from a place that we have called home for decades?” questioned Sattar Ali, a small-time businessman.

“The Darrang district administration had earlier assured to provide us plots, but the areas where we were asked to relocate to get flooded during monsoon. How can we stay there? We want the government to relocate us somewhere better. The size of the plot doesn’t matter much, but it should be in a place where we can stay without worries,” he added.

Despite repeated attempts Darrang deputy commissioner Prabhati Thaosen and BJP MLA Padma Hazarika, who has been made chairman of the Garukhuti Project and given a cabinet rank, didn’t respond to calls seeking details of the government’s proposed package for the evicted families.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On