Eviction drive in Silsaku wetlands in Assam leaves 93 families homeless

Reported by

Sarup Sinha

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Published on

October 24, 2022

October 24, 2022

Updated on

October 24, 2022

Location of Conflict

Guwahati

Kamrup Metropolitan

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Land Use

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

93

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1200

ha

Starting Year

2014

State

Assam

Sector

Land Use

On May 13, 2022, amidst heavy rain, Kamrup District Administration conducted a demolition drive in the Chachal area of Silsaku Beel, in Assam. During the drive 93 families were evicted, with nearly all the temporary and permanent structures in the area being razed by the administration. The affected families alleged the eviction was conducted without advance notice from the administration. Silsaku Beel is a lake-like urban wetland with static water in the Chachal area of Guwahati which falls under the administration of Kamrup (Metro) District and also comes under the purview of the National Green Tribunal.
The eviction drive was undertaken for the protection and restoration of wetlands, and as a flood-control measure. Another purpose for the eviction was the creation of two roads that would help in waste collection from wetlands. According to the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), encroachment of Silsako Beel in Guwahati is a criminal offence under the provisions of the Assam Land Revenue Regulation Act and Guwahati Water-bodies Preservation and Conservation Act 2008. According to media reports, the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) issued an eviction notice in 2014 against alleged “illegal encroachment’ in Silsako Lake, calling for the removal of unauthorised structures in the area.
On May 17, 2022, the affected residents staged protests in front of the circle office demanding their rehabilitation. Facing homelessness, 31 families decided to remain in the area sheltered under the same tarpaulin sheet till alternate resettlement is arranged by the authorities. “Let the government run its bulldozer over our bodies”, said one of the affected residents.
Narayan Deka, the Chairman of the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) explained that Silsako wetland is spread over 1800 bighas (hectares), out of which 1200 bighas (hectares) have reportedly been encroached by illegal settlers. The residents, however, counter these accusations saying that they had been residing in the area for over 20 years, with their respective house numbers and electricity connections being approved by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation. Responding to such claims, the GMDA chairman told the media that electricity or house holding numbers are used to collect taxes from the people and cannot be taken as evidence of land ownership.
Organisations like the Krishak Murti Sangram Samiti have criticised the eviction on humanitarian grounds. They also pointed out that the properties of the influential segments of the society have remained unhurt by such evictions, despite similar violations.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Common

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

Settlement Rules under the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886
Rule 18(2) [Deputy Commissioner may confiscate, sell or destroy any unauthorized crop or buildings erected on land and eject such persons from the land], Rule 18(3) [Deputy Commissioner must publish a notice to persons they are seeking to eject for vacating the land within 15 days of the publication of notice]
Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017
Rule 4 [Restriction of activities on wetlands to include any construction of permanent nature]
Sudama Singh v. Deepak Mohan Spolia (C.A. No(s). 21806-21807/2017, Supreme Court)
The Guidelines state that the government must provide just compensation and sufficient accommodation to evictees immediately. At a minimum, the government must provide access to basic facilities such as food, water, and shelter, among others.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, A/HRC/RES/43/14, dated July 6, 2020
The Guidelines state that the government must provide just compensation and sufficient accommodation to evictees immediately. At a minimum, the government must provide access to basic facilities such as food, water, and shelter, among others.
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    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.

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    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

No

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

No

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:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Displacement amidst heavy rain on the day of demolition drive.

Date of Violation

May 12, 2022

Location of Violation

Silsako Beel, Guwahati

Nature of Protest

Land occupation

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Kamrup District Administration, Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority

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?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

All Assam Tribal Sangha, Takam Mising Porin Kebang , Mising Mimak Kebang,Krishak Murti Sangram Samiti, Bodo National Students Union, All Assam Tribal Youth League

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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