Multiple Eviction Drives in Assam Targeting Adivasis Displace Thousands, Houses Torched

Reported by

Abdul Kalam Azad

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

January 11, 2017

January 11, 2017

Updated on

January 11, 2017

Location of Conflict

Lungsung

Kokrajhar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Communal/Ethnic Conflict

Natural Calamities

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

7013

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

405

ha

Starting Year

1996

State

Assam

Sector

Land Use

Lungsung in Kokrajhar district falls under the Bodoland Territorial Areas District, now renamed as Bodoland Territorial Region. In the early 1970s, Adivasis, mostly Santhals, settled in Lungsung. Most of them were either landless farmers or erosioninduced Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Landless farmers from both Adivasi and Bodo communities settled in the villages of Morabari, Bhom Amguri, Saharjuri, Maharjuri and Radha Nagar. In Morabari and Bhom Amgrui villages, the Bodos were able to get land _pattas _(titles) as well. The Plain Tribes Council of Assam (PTCA), once a strong political movement to assert the rights of indigenous tribespeople, such as the Bodos, took initiatives in the early 1970s to rehabilitate landless Bodo farmers in Haltugaon division. The movement was led by Samar Brahma Choudhury, who was the forest minister under the Gulab Borbora government in Assam. However, the Adivasis (nonBodo tribals, mostly Santhals) lacked political patronage and faced hostility from the government. They were first evicted in 1974 during the Congress rule as they were alleged to have occupied forestland. The community leaders met Charan Narzary, the founder of the PTCA but did not receive any protection. The state's forest department claims that the Adivasis have encroached highly biodiverse forest and hence must be evicted. During the 1996 BodoAdivasi conflict, an outlawed Bodo terror group allegedly evicted the nonBodo Adivasis from the area. The conflict saw the displacement of over 2.5 lakh people in Kokrajhar and Gosaigaon. Similar clashes occurred in 1998, triggering another wave of exodus from both the communities as hundreds lost their lives. The Adivasis spent nearly a decade in IDP camps in Joypur (Kokrajhar) and Runikhata (Chirang). The government did not provide any rehabilitation and the Adivasis started returning to Lungsung from 2003 onwards. But in 2006, the BTAD administration evicted them again. Another eviction drive was carried out in 2010, in which 56 villages were targeted. Houses were torched and schools and properties were vandalised. However, forest officials had to withdraw the operation as they faced resistance from the people. The extent of brutality in the eviction drives was such that a house was torched while a twoandahalfyearold was sleeping inside the hut. The boy later succumbed to his injuries. No action was taken against the officials while 33 Adivasis were arrested for protesting. The Santhal Adivasis demanded recognition as Scheduled Tribe that would enable them to get rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. In 2014, the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit) killed eight Adivasis from Lungsung on Christmas eve and displaced thousands others. Another eviction drive was launched in 2016, but this time the forest department sent a notice to 56 villages and gave a week's time to vacate the land. The Adivasis claim that the forestland belongs to them and that they would not leave the land at any cost. While they do not have title deeds to the land, experts claim that since the villages are forest villages, the Adivasis are entitled to forest rights over the land as per the Forest Rights Act, 2006. The struggle for land rights is also entrenched with the separatist struggle of Bodos to claim a separate statehood called Bodoland.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand for rehabilitation

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3(a) [Right to hold and live on forest land]; Section 4 [Recognition of, and vesting of, forest rights in forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers]
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  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-implementation/violation of FRA

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Scheduled Tribe status or lack of status

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

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Raid/break-in/theft

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

1996: Houses were burnt and people were forcefully displaced by alleged Bodo terror groups to clear the land; 2006: The Bodoland Territorial District Areas (now Bodoland Territorial Region) administration launched eviction drives and demolished houses and other properties; 2010: The BTAD administration again launched an eviction drive. Houses were burnt, and foodgrains and cattle were looted; 2010: False cases were filed, and 33 people were imprisoned; 2010: A two-and-a-half-year-old boy, Mangal Murmu, was burnt alive during an eviction drive. He died after a few months; 2014: Eight people were shot dead and a few houses were torched by alleged Bodo terror groups]

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Development of a network or collective

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department of Assam, Bodoland Territorial Council

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 Adivasi Students Association of Assam; Krishak Sabha, Lungsung; National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit)

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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