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India

Assam Eviction Drive: Gauhati HC Asks Govt To File Affidavit Within Three Weeks

A division bench issued the order on a PIL filed by senior Congress leader Debabrata Saikia seeking, among others, formulation of a rehabilitation policy for evicting people from government land by the administration.

Screen Grab of Assam Firing. (Source: Twitter Video)

Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court on Thursday directed the Assam government to file a detailed affidavit within three weeks on the eviction drive in Darrang district, during which two persons were killed and 20 others injured in clashes between security forces and alleged encroachers last month.

A division bench comprising Justices N Kotiswar Singh and Manish Choudhury issued the order on a PIL filed by senior Congress leader Debabrata Saikia seeking, among others, formulation of a rehabilitation policy for evicting people from government land by the administration. The bench fixed the next date of hearing on November 3.

Two persons, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed in police firing and 20 others were injured in violence during an eviction drive in villages under Sipajhar revenue circle on September 23.

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In the PIL, Saikia, the leader of the opposition in the Assam assembly, also prayed for a time-bound investigation under the scrutiny of the high court into the deaths and injuries caused during the eviction drive at Garukhuti in Sipajhar area.

The PIL claimed that proper guidelines are not followed while conducting eviction drives and attempts have been made to deprive local people of land rights on various grounds in Assam since 2016.

The BJP came to power in the North-eastern state in that year.

The PIL prayed for mandatory social impact assessment, meaningful consultation with evicted persons and formulation of schemes for their rehabilitation, resettlement and compensation in a time-bound manner.

It said the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 should be followed in letter and spirit in respect of evictions sought to be carried out in Assam.

Saikia, in his plea, sought quashing of the government’s decision to implement the Garukhuti project aiming at starting agriculture and allied activities for indigenous youths in the area for which the eviction drive was conducted.

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