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Eviction Drive in Assam Renders Char Dwellers Homeless

Reported by

Mahesh Deka

Legal Review by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

May 18, 2020

March 11, 2023

Edited on

May 18, 2020

State

Assam

Sector

Land Use

People Affected by Conflict

58

Households Affected by Conflict

12

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

144

ha

Starting Year

2019

Location of Conflict

Mohmardiya, Bongshar

Kamrup Metropolitan

Reason or Cause of Conflict

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

Land Conflict Summary

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 state in the fringe areas of the KNP in central Assam’s 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 been living on 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 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 used for cultivation by these families. These individuals used to reside in different _char _areas before being forced to relocate in Mohmardiya due to erosion.
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 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.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Grazing Land)

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Original Project Deadline

Whether the Project has been Delayed

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

Source/Reference

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886
Section 12 [This section empowers the government to make rules for eviction of unauthorised occupants of land]
Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
Section 35(4)(b) [Where land is demarcated for a National Park, the rights over that land will vest with the state government]
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 21 [Guarantees the Right to Life]; Article 300A [Persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law]
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

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

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

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 18, 2019

Location of Violation

Mahmordiya

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

No items found.

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

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

No

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Images

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Video

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 state in the fringe areas of the KNP in central Assam’s 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 been living on 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 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 used for cultivation by these families. These individuals used to reside in different _char _areas before being forced to relocate in Mohmardiya due to erosion.
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 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

Demand for rehabilitation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886
Section 12 [This section empowers the government to make rules for eviction of unauthorised occupants of land]
Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
Section 35(4)(b) [Where land is demarcated for a National Park, the rights over that land will vest with the state government]
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 21 [Guarantees the Right to Life]; Article 300A [Persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law]
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

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

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

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 18, 2019

Location of Violation

Mahmordiya

Nature of Protest

No items found.

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?

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.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

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