The anti-people, anti-poor policies and activities of the BJP led Sarbananda Sonowal govt in Assam has once again been reflected in the eviction of more than 500 families in the area around the Amchang wildlife sanctuary. This harrowing atrocity left people in open amidst chilling winter, even the schools have not been spared by bulldozers. It is the time for annual exams in schools and this destruction has caused the loss of a complete year for the kids. This eviction too is done by misusing a high Court order for protecting the forest area as has happened in other parts of the country, this incidence leaves several questions unanswered.
The people evicted are those who fled from mostly Dhemaji and Majuli due to the loss of their entire lands in floods. Majority of them belong to the Mishing community. No governments yet have taken any measure towards an amicable solution of their rehabilitation. They have been subjected to periodical eviction by previous governments as well. The BJP that resorted to the slogans of protecting JATI, MATI, BHETI (Community, Land, Base) before Coming to power in Assam is totally engaged in uprooting people from their base and livelihoods.
It is also admitted by the government that these evicted families were living in this area prior to declaration of Amchang Reserve Forest in 2004. Therefore, the right of tribal people even assuming to be living within Reserve Forest ought to have been settled under the Forest Rights Act.
The BJP Govt’s claimed concern towards protecting wildlife is also a total sham. Right after coming to power in 2016 the Sonowal Govt has given hundreds of bighas of lands to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali. This huge area happens to come under the elephant corridor in Sonitpur district. The assurance given by the govt in this regard was that of providing employment to the local people. This assurance has also proved to be a hoax when the locals were specifically denied any employment. Widespread protests were also seen regarding this incident. After the Amchang incident apprehensions are rising that the lands acquired through evictions will be handed over to big corporates. The govt. is anyway displaying callous insensitivity towards hazardous impact of the cement factories Constructed within 150 and 350 metres from Amchang.
Amchang eviction is not the only instance that Assam has witnessed in recent times. The eviction in the Sipajhar area of Darrang district just a fortnight before was very similar in nature. The settlers in that area are largely Muslims who fled from Dhubri and nearby areas after losing their lands in floods. They claimed to have legitimate documents of land purchase and living in the area for more than a decade. Yet, calculated campaigns were unleashed to give it a communal colour and vilify them as illegal immigrants. While the NRC process in underway under the supervision of the Supreme Court, the ruling party is continuing with its communal agenda by conspiratorially propagating them as illegal immigrant.
Unable to answer the questions raised by people the BJP govt in Assam has become increasingly autocratic. The arrest and slapping of NSA on Akhil Gogoi is one of the major instances of Sonowal Govt’s fascistic attitude. Three other activists of KMSS Bedanta Laskar, Dhariya Konwar, Gopi Saikia have been arrested for protesting against the Amchang evictions. Large scale intimidations are also underway.
AISA condemns the calculated conspiracy of the BJP govt in Assam to evict, intimidate and harass the common and poor people of Assam under one pretext or the other to fan its pro-corporate as well as communal and divisive agenda. We stand by the affected people in their struggle for land, livelihood and life with dignity.