Eviction Drive in Assam Renders Char Dwellers Homeless

Reported by

Mahesh DekaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

July 16, 2020

Location of Conflict

Mohmardiya, Bongshar

Kamrup Metropolitan

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Encroachment by Non-Right Holders (Other than Caste-Based)



People Affected by Conflict


Land Area Affected (in Hectares)



Starting Year





Land Use

Since it assumed power in Assam in 2016, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has carried out massive eviction drives across the state. Over the last four years, the government has launched eviction drives in at least 17 districts, leaving hundreds of people homeless. In October 2012, a PIL was filed by Mrinal Saikia, a BJP MLA, demanding the eviction of illegal immigrants from the Kaziranga National Park (KNP). Three years later, on October 9, 2015, the Gauhati High Court passed an order directing the state to take expeditious steps to evict the immigrants from the park. The court also ordered the government to inquire into reports of poaching in the park. What started as an eviction drive by the government in the fringe areas of the KNP in central Assams Kaliabor in September 2016 later expanded to Sipajhar, Dhubri, Amchang, Kuruwa, Mangaldai, Hojai, Mayong, Gogamukh, Jamugurihat and Barpeta, among several other places. The latest eviction drive by the state was undertaken in September 2019 in Mahmordiya _char _(riverine areas of the Brahmaputra are locally called char) under the Palashbari revenue circle, following several complaints by a local organisation. In its initial complaint, the Dakshin Kamrup Siyalmara Dugdha Samabay Committee, a cooperative body of dairy farmers in the state, alleged that over 20 families from a nearby char, known as Bhatkhowadiya, have encroached upon 900 bighas (144.45 hectares) of land in Mohmardiya char under the jurisdiction of the Palashbari police station in Kamrup (Metro) district. After repeated complaints, the circle officer ordered the laat mandal (a government-appointed body that maintains land records) to conduct an inquiry into the allegations. The mandal submitted its report to the circle officer on November 1, 2019. The report stated that 12 families have illegally settled in Mohmardiya and built bamboo huts. It further mentioned that around 400 bighas (64.2 hectares) of Professional Grazing Reserve (PGR) land (which fall under the jurisdiction of the revenue department) were under illegal cultivation by 'encroachers', who are Bengali-speaking Muslims. These individuals used to reside in different _char _areas before being forced to relocate in Mohmardiya due to erosion. Although the local people suspect they are Bangladeshi nationals, the state government has not yet branded them as such. People coming to India from Bangladesh before March 25, 1971, are considered Indian citizens. The evicted people claim their forefathers had entered India prior to 1971. Most of these settlers, however, don't own land and therefore, have no formal land rights.  Based on the report of the mandal, the circle officer subsequently served eviction notices to the 12 families on November 11, asking them to vacate the land immediately. But the families refused and continued to live on the PGR land. A week later, on November 19, a team of officials from the Palashbari Revenue Circle, with the help of local police, carried out the eviction drive in Mohmardiya char. During the drive, they demolished more than 25 houses (some families had built more than one house) and destroyed crops in around 144.5 hectares of land.  In a footage accessed by LCW, the evicted people said they have been living at the char for a decade, where they had settled after losing their lands to erosion in nearby Goroimari and Kelkeli chars. We have no option. We have no place to stay; we are homeless now, Rejina Khatun, an evicted woman, told a local reporter who covered the eviction. She and other evicted people asked the government to provide them immediate rehabilitation.  The evicted people have now taken shelter in nearby Bhatkhowadiya char. The state government has, so far, not offered them any kind of shelter.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community


Region Classification


Type of Land


Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?


When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:


Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Revenue officials, with the help of the police, demolished more than 25 houses and damaged crops during an eviction drive.

Date of Violation

November 19, 2019

Location of Violation


Nature of Protest

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

State Revenue & Disaster Management Department, State Environment and Forest Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Suswapna Kakoti, former Circle Officer of Palashbari Revenue Circle, Kamrup (Metro) district, told LCW that the eviction drive was carried out because the families had illegally settled in the area and added that due process of the law was followed during the eviction.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Mahesh Deka

Reviewed By

Mahesh Deka

Updated By

Mahesh Deka

Edited By

Mahesh DekaLand Conflict Watch

Support our work

Your contribution ensures continuity of this crucial project.

As a member, you will get exclusive access to special reports, policy papers and research projects undertaken by Land Conflict Watch and behind-the-scenes interactions with the writers and researchers about their work.
Contribute Now