Hill Residents in Guwahati Demand Land Titles, Assam Government Resorts to Evictions

Reported by

Abdul Kalam Azad

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

October 26, 2016

October 26, 2016

Updated on

October 26, 2016

Location of Conflict

Guwahati

Kamrup

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Urban Development (Other than Smart Cities)

Land occupation

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

316320

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2002

State

Assam

Sector

Infrastructure

Guwahati, the biggest city in the northeast, has been expanding rapidly since the 1970s. As new administrative government jobs began to be generated, and the informal sector started booming, poor growth in the agricultural sector and annual floods and land erosion pushed a large number of people from across the state to move to Guwahati in search of better livelihood opportunities. After the liberalisation of the economy in the 1990s, Guwahati witnessed another phase of expansion. Corporate and business classes emerged in the city, so did new roads, buildings and other infrastructure. Owing to the huge influx of people, the city faced an acute shortage of housing. According to reports, land in hills and wetlands around the city were illegally occupied by businessmen and government officials. In many cases, the government reportedly gave such land to public and private institutions. The people living in the hills and around wetlands in Guwahati soon started demanding land titles from the government. But the state launched eviction drives in 2002 and displaced thousands of people living in the hills. Local organisations such as Krishak Mukti Sangam Samiti (KMSS) and Unnayan Samiti have held several protests. The government even formed a committee to look into the matter under the leadership of the then revenue minister, Bhumidhar Barman, but nothing concrete happened. According to a survey by AC Nielsen in 2009, around 65,900 households were then residing in 16 hill settlements. Some 71 per cent of all households were living on government land, while around 18 per cent were living on land that was part of reserve forest. About 7.3 per cent households lived on _patta _land owned by others, while some 3.6 per cent households were living on their own land. On June 22, 2011, thousands of hill dwellers [marched ](http://On June 22, 2011, thousands of hill dwellers marched to Dispur demanding that the evictions be stopped and pattas be granted to those living on dakhal (encroached) lands)to the secretariat in Dispur demanding a stop to the evictions and land titles to the people. But the police resorted to lathicharge and fired teargas shells to disperse the demonstrators, many of whom were injured. This was followed by police firing, in which three persons were killed, including a nineyear old boy. In retaliation, the people beat up police personnel and damaged vehicles. In 2014, another round of eviction drive started and saw widespread protests by people. The KMSS organised a protest meeting at Digahalipukhuri in the city on February 18, 2014, and prepared a list of demands, including legal ownership rights to those living in the hills and around wetlands. In a separate incident, a member of the KMSS, Pronob Boro, selfimmolated in front of the state secretariat in Dispur. There has not been much headway since. The current government has been sending notices to the hill dwellers, through the state revenue department, asking them to vacate the encroached land. In a report by Reuters, the hill dwellers have still not got land titles as of March 2020. According to a farmer, the authorities have said that they would first survey the land, check proof of residence and issue _pattas _to those who are eligible. "But that has not happened, and without a _patta, _we can be evicted any time," the farmer said.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Constitutional Law, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Disaster Management Act, 2005
Section 2(e): Rehabilitation is a part of disaster management
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 300A: Persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 4: Vesting of forest rights with traditional forest dwellers
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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.

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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.

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:

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Lack of legal protection over land rights

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:

Killing

Torching of houses

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

3 people were shot dead. one person self immolated. , Houses belonging to poor people were demolished.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Public campaign

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Self-immolation

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Department of Forest and Environment, Department of Revenue, 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:

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Lalmati-Beharbari Anchalik Unnayan Samiti, Brihattar Guwahati Mati Patta Dabi Samiti

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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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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