The anti-people, anti-poor policies and activities of the BJP led Sarbananda Sonowal govt in Assam has once again been reflected in the eviction of more than 500 families in the Amchang wildlife sanctuary area. This harrowing atrocity left people in open amidst chilling winter, even the schools have not been spared by bulldozers. It is the time for annual exams in schools and this destruction has caused the loss of a complete year for the kids. This eviction too is done by misusing a high court order for protecting the forest area as has happened in other parts of the country, this incidence leaves several questions unanswered.
The people evicted are those who fled from mostly Dhemaji and Majuli due to the loss of their entire lands in floods. Majority of them belong to the Mishing community. No governments yet have taken any measure towards an amiable solution of their rehabilitation. They have been subjected to periodical eviction by previous governments as well. The BJP that resorted to the slogans of protecting JATI, MATI, BHETI (Community, Land, Base) before coming to power in Assam is totally engaged in uprooting people from their base and livelihoods.
It is also admitted by the government that these evicted families were living in this area prior to declaration of Amchang Reserve Forest in 2004. Therefore, the right of tribal people even assuming to be living within Reserve Forest ought to have been settled under the Forest Rights Act.
The portrayed concern of the BJP Govt towards protecting wildlife is also a mockery in totality. Right after coming to power in 2016 the Sonowal Govt has given hundreds of bighas of lands to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali. This huge area happens to come under the elephant corridor in Sonitpur district. The assurance given by the govt in this regard was that of providing employment to the local people. This assurance has also proved to be futile when the locals were specifically denied any employment. Widespread protests were also seen regarding this incident. After the Amchang incident apprehensions are rising that the evicted lands will be handed over to big corporates, though the govt hasn’t said anything as such. The Govt is blindfolded towards the cement factories constructed within 150 and 350 metres from Amchang.
Amchang eviction is not the only one that Assam has witnessed in recent times. The eviction in the Sipajhar area of Darrang district just a fortnight before was very similar in nature. The settlers in that area are largely muslims who fled from Dhubri and nearby areas after losing their lands in floods. They claimed to have legitimate documents of land purchase and living in the area for more than a decade. Conscious efforts were made to give it a communal colour and vilify them as illegal immigrants. While the NRC process in underway with the supervision of the Supreme court, ruling party is continuing to fulfil its communal agenda by conspiratorially propagating them as illegal immigrant.
Unable to answer the questions raised by people the BJP govt in Assam has become increasingly autocratic. The slapping of NSA on Akhil Gogoi is one of the major incidents of Sonowal Govt’s fascistic attitude. Three other activists of KMSS Bedanta Laskar, Dharjya Konwar, Gopi Saikia have been arrested for protesting against the Amchang evictions. Large scale intimidations are also underway.