Over 650 Families Live in Fear of Eviction near Kaziranga in Assam

Reported by

Ashmita BhattacharyaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

March 31, 2021

Location of Conflict

Bandardubi

Deochurchang, Palkhowa villages

Golaghat

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Protected Areas

(

National Park

)

People Affected by Conflict

1680

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

355500

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Assam

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

Kaziranga was declared a national park in 1974. The park is famous for its population of onehorned rhinos. Following a large number of rhino poaching incidents in the national park, the Guahati High Court passed an order in 2015, directing authorities to evacuate people living in the vicinity of the park, which spreads across Golaghat, Sonitpur and Nagaon districts. The residents have opposed the move as the government has not assured them any compensation for the loss of land and livelihood. They are being backed by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, a local organisation. The villages in these districts that will be affected by the court order are Bandardubi, Deochurchang and Palkhowa. On September 19, 2016, the state carried out the eviction drive in these villages. Houses, temples, mosques and schools were demolished. A total of 331 houses were reportedly razed to the ground, of which 35 families had land rights. Protests against the demolition led to police firing, in which two civilians were killed and 18 persons, including police personnel, were injured. Subsequently, a review petition filed by villagers demanding compensation before the eviction was rejected by the Gauhati High Court as it decided to not intervene in the matter. The court, instead, upheld its earlier judgement that the villagers facing eviction were encroachers. As per a news report, the state had earlier decided to compensate the affected families on humanitarian grounds, but the latter rejected the compensation offered. Following the court's response, the National Human Rights Commission and the Assam Human Rights Commission took up suo motu cognizance of the incident and demanded the state government to submit a report in 30 days after conducting a highlevel probe. Several activists, opposition members and news reports alleged that the state government mismanaged the eviction drive, targeted the marginalised and used undue force. They claimed that the drive was targeted at Muslim households of East Bengal origins, many of whom were accused of being "illegal infiltrators". On September 20, 2016, the All Assam Minority Students' Union (AAMSU) organised a _bandh _(strike) to protest against the evictions and alleged targeting of the minority community. Protests were held in New Delhi too. Since then, the eviction rate had slowed down, but picked up pace again in 2020, with the government issuing fresh eviction notices. Moreover, in September 2020, the state further approved another 30 square kilometres to be included in the boundary of the national park, which has angered the local people. Currently, at least 662 families living around the park face the threat of eviction.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

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

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

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-rehabilitation of displaced people, Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land

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

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Killing

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Two persons were killed in police firing during an eviction drive in Bandardubi village, and 18 others were injured.

Date of Violation

September 19, 2016

Location of Violation

Kaziranga

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Strikes, Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department

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?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved 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:
No Images Available

Documented By

Ashmita Bhattacharya

Reviewed By

Ashmita Bhattacharya

Updated By

Ashmita Bhattacharya

Edited By

Ashmita BhattacharyaLand Conflict Watch
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