This disputed area is a chapori or riverbank area, which is covered with swamps and uneven land and mostly inhabited by people of Muslim origin. Each year, this area gets severely affected by floods, resulting in acute shortage of communication and transportation facilities. The problem arising with the people residing in this area is due to erosion of land caused by floods. Officially, the disputed land belongs to the government and is earmarked as Professional Grazing Land (PGR) and Village Grazing Land (VGR). People displaced by river erosion in nearby districts started moving to this place from the 1970s. Many politicians from different political parties facilitated the erosion induced internallydisplaced people. However, the local Hindu community started opposing the settlement.
Two particular Char areas in Sipajhar circle of Darang district, Dhalpur and Phuhuratoli, recently made news. As per the information by the Circle officer of Sipajhar at Guwahati High Court, 215 migrant families encroached on 3,000 bigha (one bigha equals to around 1,600 sq.m) PGR land. On the other hand, 199 families got land allotted in those areas in early 1990s as they were displaced from Barpeta and Goalpara districts due to river land erosion. However, in January 1994, that allotment was revoked by the high court.
Last year, Upamanyu Hazarika, the chief functionary of Prabrajon Birodhi Mancha, an antiimmigrant organization, was appointed as commissioner of Supreme Court's One Man Commission on cross border migration and border issues with Bangladesh. Hazarika mentioned in his report that the said villages were encroached by illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The report created hue and cry. Local ultranationalist organizations picked up the issue and held several demonstrations.
The people living in the disputed land also filed legal cases against Hazarika in Sipajhar court. These people were supported by All Assam Minority Students' Union and Akhil Gogoi's Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity.
From the perspective of conflict, this is very volatile. In 1983, in a nearby char more than 1,000 people were massacred. Some of the victims and family members of 1983 massacre are living in this disputed land. Current situation in the area is also very tense. On one hand, people who are living in the area have nowhere to go, and are ready to fight back any eviction drive. On the other, BJPled government seems to be committed to evict all the illegal encroachers. Local organizations, including Prabrajon Birodhi Manch, have been putting pressure on the government to conduct the eviction drive as early as possible.
Type of Land
Private and Common
Type of Common Land
Non-Forest (Grazing Land)
Total investment involved (in Crores):
Type of investment:
Land Area Affected