The Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) an anti-influx body headed by Supreme Court Advocate Upamanyu Hazarika on Wednesday slammed Himanta Biswa Sarma led BJP government for telling lies on illegal enchroachment.
“Land under encroachment in Sipajhar, Darrang district amounting to 77,420 bighas by those of Bangladeshi origin and eviction in such land, coupled with an agricultural project for the local indigenous inhabitant is a much touted success story by the Chief Minister and his government as a pro indigenous policy. Unfortunately, it is all fraud, lies, and deceit where the encroachment affected indigenous population are now further deprived of their remaining land, and the encroachers remain wherever they are,” PVM statement said.
The PVM statement stated, “Sometime in the first week of June, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the encroached area of 77,420 bighas of land in riverine areas of Sipajhar, also announcing the restoration of an ancient Shiva temple upon the encroached land. A month later, the state budget earmarked Rs. 9.6 crores for an agriculture project in this area and it is officially announced that the land has been freed of the encroachers and the Sootea MLA Shri Padma Hazarika is made the Chairman of the agriculture project – described as the Gorukhuti project with the rank of a Cabinet Minister. However, the facts are completely the opposite, contrary to the Chief Minister’s announcement; not 1 bigha of land has been freed of encroachers, excepting the 120 bighas which are a part of the temple complex.”
“For the consumption of the general public in Assam to show that this Government is pro-indigenous, much publicity has accompanied the so-called agricultural project with the chairman Hazarika seen on a tractor tilling the land. The land for the the project has been acquired from the local indigenous population, whose villages are alongside the embankment. Only a few households from these villages have been included as a part of the project, and land amounting to about 10,000 bighas of the local villagers is in the process of being acquired for the project,” the press statement read.
The statement added, “Not a single inch of land encroached by those of Bangladeshi origin has been acquired for the project, the encroachers continue to farm the encroached land, carry out livestock activities, and continue to remain wherever they are. In fact, encroachment in this area is not more than 30-35 years old, and are mostly recent migrants from Bangladesh. They were encouraged and established in this area as vote banks by successive MLAs.”
Upamanyu Hazarika said, “Their encroachment deprived the indigenous population of access to grazing and cultivation lands, and most important Government support for encroachers have extended to establishing schools, dispensaries, housing schemes, roads etc., and these people have also been involved in repeated attacks and other criminal activities upon the indigenous population.”
“The local indigenous have been deprived of the land by encroachment and the final nail in the coffin now comes from the present Government, who have acquired their lands for the agricultural project. In fact, the indigenous inhabitants have been cultivating these lands for generations, including payment of revenue and there are grazing receipts dating back to 1923,” Hazarika stated.
He further said, “The entire case of Sipajhar exposes the fraud of the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Government on the indigenous population. While posturing for the indigenous population, the Chief Minister resorts to lies, and to perpetuate that lie this Government and by grabbing the lands of the already victimised indigenous population it has sent out a very clear that encroachers particularly those of Bangladeshi origin have a licence to grab all our lands and resources, even at the cost of depriving the local indigenous population.”