New Delhi, September 23 (KMS): In India, at least 800 Muslim families, comprising at least 20,000 members, have been rendered homeless in the ongoing massive eviction drive launched by the Assam government in a village in the Darrang district. The drive has left many Muslims dead during the brutal torture by police on the victim Muslims.
On camera, policemen in riot gear and armed with guns and sticks chased and attacked protesters and even firing shots. In horrifying visuals, a government cameraman filming the clash attacked a protester. The protester, beaten by policemen, lay motionless as the cameraman kept attacking him until he was restrained. The police are now searching for the cameraman.
This was the second round of evictions carried out in the last three months at the village – Dhalpur – which is populated by Muslims.
A fact-finding committee had visited the village soon after the district administration carried out the first eviction drive in June.
A report by Guwahati-based English daily, the Sentinel, called the Assam government’s actions a “never before seen massive eviction drive at Dhalpur No. 1 and Dhalpur No. 3 areas”. These areas fall under the Sipajhar Revenue Circle in the Darrang district.
The news reports said the district administration ‘cleared’ “8000 bighas” of land which led to the eviction of 800 people. Some residents of Dhalpur told the media that the number of evicted families was more than 900, which would take the count of affected people to at least 20,000.
Photos and video clips surfaced on social media showing evicted families taking shelter under makeshift sheds to protect themselves from a heavy bout of rain after their dwellings were demolished. The drive was carried out while the state government still has multiple pandemic-related restrictions in place.
According to the villagers, the local administration engaged more than 1,200 police personnel and jawans from the Assam Police’s 14th battalion to carry out the drive at Dhalpur No. 1 and No. 3.
“The drive was carried out by the Darrang administration and led by the chairman of the proposed Gorukhuti multi-purpose agricultural project. At the same time, the district administration used 22 tractors to plough the cleared, cultivable land right after the eviction,” said a villager.
The chairman of the agricultural project is Padma Hazarika, BJP MLA from Sootea. The project was announced by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma after he visited Dhalpur, a day after the first eviction drive had been carried out by the district administration on June 7.
Incidentally, among other officials, Sarma’s brother, Sushanta Biswa Sarma, was also involved in both the eviction drives as the district superintendent of police. Sushanta was deployed at the post soon after Himanta Biswa Sarma took control of the home ministry.
A fact-finding committee’s report had highlighted that, when the affected people came to meet the members, they brought with them the proof of their names in the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC), an official document on the citizens of Assam as per its exclusive citizenship cut-off date – March 24, 1971.