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Assam Congress leader Debabrata Saikia has sought the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) following the eviction of indigenous people belonging to ST and OBC communities in the Tinsukia and Nagaon districts.
Around 1,300 families of the two communities have been living in the Laika-Dadhia area of Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary in Tinsukia district since the great earthquake of 1950.
“The government is now seeking to evict them (Laika-Dadhia settlers), thereby going back on successive assurances over the last three years or so that these hapless people would be suitably rehabilitated. Consequently, the affected people have been staging a protest since the last week of December 2020 at a make-shift site near the DC’s office in Tinsukia. A couple of people have lost their lives because of the cold, and among them is a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Many other protesters are suffering from fever, nose-bleeding etc...,” the letter sent by Saikia to the NHRC on Monday read.
He also affixed a report from the office of the Tinsukia Deputy Commissioner stating that the affected families lived in Laika-Dadhia area since the 1950s before the sanctuary was notified.
Concerning the current pressure in Nagaon, Sakia alleged the district administration for delivering the land to a private power company without proper notification.
He said that the cultivators possessed no documents or records of rights of the land that their ancestors have been working for several decades.
In his letter, Saikia said, “The Assam (Temporarily Settled Areas) Tenancy Act, 1971, provides for bestowing of ownership rights on ryots who cultivate a specific plot of land for three years in succession. It is clear that the deprived people have been tilling the land in Mikir Bamuni grant for much longer than three years in succession. Further, the land allocation is being done based on the false claim that the land in question is uncultivated.”
In 2018, wild elephants killed a farmer in the area, and the stated government compensated the family. The Congress leader, however, alleged that the report given by local officials hid the fact that the area is actually an elephant corridor.
“This kind of harassment and illegal deprivation of fundamental land rights of people violates basic human rights. Such acts are definitely in violation of various provisions of Section 3 of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989,” Saikia stated, urging the commission to take up the matter and issue show-cause notices to the Assam government and the respective district administrations.
(Edited by Marbamonlang Rani)