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Eviction in Karbi Anglong's Sarke Basti Leaves 2,700 People Homeless in Assam

Reported by

Ankur Phukan

Legal Review by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

April 27, 2021

March 11, 2023

Edited on

April 27, 2021

State

Assam

Sector

Land Use

People Affected by Conflict

2700

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2019

Location of Conflict

Sarke Basti

Hojai

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

Land Conflict Summary

In the first week of March 2019, the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) carried out an eviction drive in the Sarke Basti area located on the border of East Karbi Anglong and Hojai districts. The Karbi Anglong district administration claimed that the entire evicted area falls under its jurisdiction and that the people living there were "encroachers". However, the people questioned the validity of the eviction, stating that their area fell under the jurisdiction of Hojai district and not KAAC.       
The eviction came in the face of a long-standing border dispute between Karbi Anglong and Hojai. Over 600 families were evicted and 2,700 people were rendered homeless. Kulsum Begum, a heavily pregnant woman, was forcibly dragged out of her home, physically assaulted by the police and paramilitary forces and was later deprived of urgent medical aid. She went into labour and gave birth under the open sky. She succumbed to her injuries on March 11.
The Karbi Anglong administration claims that the border areas constitute a reserved forest, while the Hojai administration claims these are villages mapped by the district revenue department. 
Tuliram Ronghang, chief executive member of the KAAC, alleged that the families were undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh who had been living on the land belonging to Karbi Anglong. The families refute the allegations, saying that they are residents of Hojai and Indian citizens.         
According to local people, the claims to the disputed area between Karbi Anglong and Hojai have been a cause of concern between the two regions for some time and that the KAAC had attempted many eviction drives in the area previously. But the eviction drive in March 2019 was more systematic and violent. Security forces torched houses and also demolished Chudhury Para Primary School, the only school in the area.
On March 8, 2019, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti's Hojai district committee staged a protest in the area demanding a judicial stay against eviction drives until the boundary of the two districts is finalised. But the police, army and paramilitary forces attacked unarmed protesters to disperse them. They resorted to lathicharge, which left more than 30 people injured.
Some residents claimed that civilians from Karbi Anglong district also took part in the violence. The protesters condoned the inaction of the Hojai district administration even as both the district authorities are in negotiation for resolving the long-standing border dispute. The matter is currently pending in the Gauhati High Court.
Several news reports claim that evictions have been a weaponised effort against Assam's Bengali Muslim population.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Resolution of border dispute

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than 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

Case Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Constitutional Law

Legislations/Policies Involved

Indian Forest Act, 1927
Section 4: [Power to reserve forests]
Noor Hassan v. Deepak Rawat (SLP (C) 30026-30027/2018, Supreme Court of India)
Protocol must be followed before an eviction, including hearing the parties and issuing notice
Constitution of India, 1950
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:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Land record discrepancies

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Gauhati High Court

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Physical attack

Torching of houses

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

A heavily pregnant woman named Kulsuma Begum was forcefully dragged out of her house and physically assaulted by the police and paramilitary forces. She was left bleeding out in the open and gave birth to a boy, but she succumbed to her injuries on March 11. Security forces also torched houses and demolished Chudhury Para Primary School, the only school in the area. On March 8, police, army and paramilitary forces attacked unarmed protesters to disperse them. They resorted to lathicharge, which left more than 30 people injured.

Date of Violation

March 1, 2019

Location of Violation

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Karbi Anglong Autonomus Council, Hojai District Administration

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:

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti

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

In the first week of March 2019, the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) carried out an eviction drive in the Sarke Basti area located on the border of East Karbi Anglong and Hojai districts. The Karbi Anglong district administration claimed that the entire evicted area falls under its jurisdiction and that the people living there were "encroachers". However, the people questioned the validity of the eviction, stating that their area fell under the jurisdiction of Hojai district and not KAAC.       
The eviction came in the face of a long-standing border dispute between Karbi Anglong and Hojai. Over 600 families were evicted and 2,700 people were rendered homeless. Kulsum Begum, a heavily pregnant woman, was forcibly dragged out of her home, physically assaulted by the police and paramilitary forces and was later deprived of urgent medical aid. She went into labour and gave birth under the open sky. She succumbed to her injuries on March 11.
The Karbi Anglong administration claims that the border areas constitute a reserved forest, while the Hojai administration claims these are villages mapped by the district revenue department. 
Tuliram Ronghang, chief executive member of the KAAC, alleged that the families were undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh who had been living on the land belonging to Karbi Anglong. The families refute the allegations, saying that they are residents of Hojai and Indian citizens.         
According to local people, the claims to the disputed area between Karbi Anglong and Hojai have been a cause of concern between the two regions for some time and that the KAAC had attempted many eviction drives in the area previously. But the eviction drive in March 2019 was more systematic and violent. Security forces torched houses and also demolished Chudhury Para Primary School, the only school in the area.
On March 8, 2019, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti's Hojai district committee staged a protest in the area demanding a judicial stay against eviction drives until the boundary of the two districts is finalised. But the police, army and paramilitary forces attacked unarmed protesters to disperse them. They resorted to lathicharge, which left more than 30 people injured.
Some residents claimed that civilians from Karbi Anglong district also took part in the violence. The protesters condoned the inaction of the Hojai district administration even as both the district authorities are in negotiation for resolving the long-standing border dispute. The matter is currently pending in the Gauhati High Court.
Several news reports claim that evictions have been a weaponised effort against Assam's Bengali Muslim population.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Resolution of border dispute

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than 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

Case Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Constitutional Law

Legislations/Policies Involved

Indian Forest Act, 1927
Section 4: [Power to reserve forests]
Noor Hassan v. Deepak Rawat (SLP (C) 30026-30027/2018, Supreme Court of India)
Protocol must be followed before an eviction, including hearing the parties and issuing notice
Constitution of India, 1950
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:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Land record discrepancies

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Gauhati High Court

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Physical attack

Torching of houses

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

A heavily pregnant woman named Kulsuma Begum was forcefully dragged out of her house and physically assaulted by the police and paramilitary forces. She was left bleeding out in the open and gave birth to a boy, but she succumbed to her injuries on March 11. Security forces also torched houses and demolished Chudhury Para Primary School, the only school in the area. On March 8, police, army and paramilitary forces attacked unarmed protesters to disperse them. They resorted to lathicharge, which left more than 30 people injured.

Date of Violation

March 1, 2019

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Karbi Anglong Autonomus Council, Hojai District Administration

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:

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti

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

Other Land Conflicts in Assam

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