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

Reported by

Ankur PhukanLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 29, 2021

Location of Conflict

Sarke Basti

,

Hojai

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

2700

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

State

Assam

Sector

Land Use

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 longstanding 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 longstanding 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.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

ha

Starting Year

2019

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Karbi Anglong Autonomus Council, Hojai District Administration

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Resources Related to Conflict

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

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