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40,000 minority Muslims in Assam to face eviction as 'encroachers'?

40,000 minority Muslims in Assam to face eviction as 'encroachers'?

The Assam cabinet on Tuesday decided to form a committee to utilise 77 thousand bighas of government land freed from encroachers at Gorukhuti, Sipajhar in Darrang for agricultural purposes.

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GUWAHATI: The Assam cabinet Tuesday decided to form a committee to utilize 77 thousand bighas of government land freed from encroachers at Gorukhuti, Sipajhar in Darrang for agricultural purposes.

The committee was formed under the chairmanship of MLA Padma Hazarika. MP Dilip Saikia, MLAs Mrinal Saikia, and Dr. Paramananda Rajbangshi will be other members of the committee while Secretary and Director Agriculture Vinod Seshan will act as Member Secretary.

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Reacting to the decision ASSP President Muhammad Khalifa said“It is disheartening to see that the Cabinet today decided to evict people from 77,000 bigha lands in Darrang district in the name of development. People living in those are citizens of India who have been residing there much before 1970”.

"The 77 thousand bigha land in question houses a population of nearly 40,000. The areas also have schools, medical sun centres etc.

“The government is trying to evict those people unlawfully”, he added.

Condemning the cabinet’s decision, Khalifa further said that, “We feel that this decision was taken because a majority of people in those areas belong to the Muslim community.”

“If the government doesn’t listen to our woes, we will protest. Even if we have to die in the process, we won’t hesitate. This is our home, our land. We won’t hesitate to sacrifice our lives for our rights”, he further said.

Welcoming the cabinet decision, Senior advocate and Upamanyu Hazarika said, “I am happy that the government has woken up to the fact that this eviction is required and there is a need for an Agricultural policy.”

“However, this is only a temporary solution. Eviction is important but it is just a temporary solution because once evicted from one place they will go to another place. The permanent safeguard and solution is a land law that reserves land for locals, indigenous people and disincentivizes the infiltrators coming into Assam from Bangladesh”, added Hazarika.

Speaking further he said, “I would also like to point out that this should not stop here and it should not be just tokenism. It shouldn’t be like that the government has done this for now and we will have to wait another five years for the rest of the people to be evicted.”

Talking about the evolvement of the issue, the PVM Convenor said, “We started the entire process in 2014. We filed a case seeking eviction of all these people. In the meantime, the present government continued the policy of the earlier state government providing all amenities to the encroachers. All the encroachers were brought under two panchayats and their population increased.”

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