Mass eviction campaign underway in Sonitpur, Assam amid heightened security

A mass eviction campaign to clear 330 acres of land in Assam’s Sonitpur district began on Saturday morning amid tight security, police said.

About 50 excavators, heavy machinery and a large number of workers were deployed to demolish houses in No. 3 area of ​​Chitalmari in Barchalla, on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River, they said.

The process has been peaceful so far, with almost all of the illegal residents having already left the premises with their belongings after receiving the eviction notice, a police officer said. ”The eviction campaign has been uneventful so far. There was no public order situation,” said the officer, who is among those overseeing the exercise. The driving began around 5 a.m. and since most residents had already left their homes, the structures are being demolished using excavators and other heavy machinery, he said. . The area to be cleared was divided into three parts and the demolition of one part was completed by 9 a.m., another police officer said. Around 1,200 security personnel, including those from the Assam Police and paramilitary forces, were deployed to the site, equipped with riot gear.

According to government records, 299 families used to live in the area, but more than 90% of them have already left after receiving the notice about eight months ago.

Some of the evicted residents lamented that no rehabilitation was provided to them by the government. ”We have lived here for decades. Here we have no work and live off the fields. We don’t know where we’ll go,” said one woman, gathering her last belongings as diggers approached the structure that was her home.

A district administration official said security force patrols in the area had been ongoing since August 31, prompting residents to voluntarily leave the land.

”We couldn’t carry out the eviction campaign earlier for various reasons. Now most people have agreed that this is government land and will be used for development work,’ the official told PTI. Locals said most of the people migrated to the area decades ago from Nagaon and Morigaon districts on the southern bank of Brahmaputra following massive erosions.

Asked about the demographics of the area, the district manager said, “It’s a mix of several communities. The largest number of families are Bengali-speaking Muslims, followed by Bengali Hindus and Gorkhas. in other regions. , and that is why they left without any protest. Special Director General of Police (Law and Order) Gyanendra Pratap Singh had visited the site on Thursday and reviewed the security arrangements.

Speaking to reporters, he said one IG-ranking officer and three SP-ranking officers would be present during the deportation campaign. He had also claimed that the land was being cleared as the government planned to install a solar power plant on the site.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)