GUWAHATI: Amid controversy over the killing of two persons in an eviction drive at Gorukhuti under Sipajhar revenue circle in Assam’s Darrang district, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Saturday said members of the Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) had visited a day ago the village where the eviction drive was taken out by Darrang district administration on Thursday.
Two persons were killed and 19 others, including 11 policemen were injured in the clashes that took place at Gorukhuti under the Sipajhar revenue circle in Darrang district on September 23.
Assam government has already ordered a judicial probe under a retired High Court judge to conduct the probe into causes and circumstances of the incident.
On Friday, the BJP had alleged that “third party political and apolitical forces” including Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) could be behind instigating protesters to attack Assam Police personnel during an eviction drive.
The Islamist organisation has been banned in several states and the Centre is also in the process of making it a proscribed outfit.
Sarma said various pieces of evidence were emerging with time implicating certain people, including a college lecturer.
“Apart from that before the day of the incident, in the name of carrying food articles to the evicted family, the members of Popular Front of India (PFI) visited the site. As of now, various evidence is emerging implicating certain people including one lecturer from one college of Assam has also visited the site. The government is enquiring about the matter in detail because eviction was done against 60 families. It is yet to be ascertained from where those 10,000 families have come. Once the judicial enquiry starts, we will have a lot more explosive information,” Sarma said.
Sarma said he had called upon the All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) at his office chamber two times. Later, he had directed them to visit the Darrang deputy commissioner’s office for a meeting. Both the district administration and AAMSU went for a joint visit at the Dhalpur site, he said.
“My point was very specific to them. If these people are landless, we are going to give you two acres of land, the only thing that they don’t have to possess the land in any other part of the state. But there is a point, most of these people have land, they are not landless the way it is sought to be projected in the national media. They have come from the various localities; they have come there for cultivation, but they have their land in their ancestral village namely from Dalgaon, from Baghbar etc. Eventually, they have come here and started to reside in those parts of land because it is very good for the cultivation,” the chief minister said.
Sarma further claimed that the eviction was done as per the consent of the villagers. They have not come up to me with the list of landless people. That is the whole reason. I told them that there will be eviction please ensure that there is no resistance. Same thing I explained to the Congress legislature party earlier when they came to meet me. They also agreed to the point that for the first time government has taken a stand to settle landless people, the Congress party also appreciated me in this regard. Thereafter they created this mayhem.”;
Sarma had asked who could have instigated the violence as discussions were held for four months before going ahead with the eviction drive.
“There was an intelligence report that certain people collected Rs 28 lakh during the last three months saying that there will be no eviction. When they couldn’t resist eviction, they mobilised public and created havoc on that day,” the chief minister added.
Sarma reiterated that evictions were carried out with the consent of all and that he had explained the same to the Congress, but mayhem followed.
“I had told them about evictions and that they should ensure no resistance, which they promised. I explained the same thing to Congress. They agreed with me and appreciated the decision. They created mayhem the next day,” the chief minister said.
The chief minister said that the state government will urge the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a probe into the incident.
“We have ordered a CBI inquiry into the case. We have to find out who has mobilised 10,000 people even after a clear agreement with the organisation that the eviction will happen peacefully,” Sarma said.
“Of 27 injured policemen, two or three were the Muslim personnel who are admitted in the hospital. The eviction drive was initiated with an agreed principle that the landless will be provided 2 acres each as per land policy and the representatives agreed. I appeal to the left-centric people to raise the voice of Assamese people,” he said.
“This eviction drive was urgent. It was not done overnight. Congress delegation had met me and agreed on land allotment to landless. 27,000 acres of land have to be used productively. There was a temple, which was also encroached upon by people,” he added.
He assured that the government will resolve the matter and bring peace and harmony to the state by taking appropriate action.