The All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU), an influential students body representing both religious and linguistic minorities in the state, on Saturday set a seven-day deadline for Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to allot land for thousands of Bengali Muslims being forcefully evicted from large swathes of government land in Darrang district’s Sipajhar.
“We have agreed to move out, but there is no clarity on where they will go. We cannot trust the district authorities since 800 families evicted on September 20 were shown an inhabitable area where 300 families are already living,” AAMSU president Rejaul Karim Sarkar said in northern Assam’s Kharupetia.
He went on to say: “We did meet the Chief Minister on the Gorukhuti project [reclamation of 77,000 bighas of government land from squatters] and decided that the people will be given space elsewhere to resettle. But there was a disconnect between the CM and the Darrang district administration, which showed no interest in the resettlement of the people to be evicted.”
Sarkar also claimed that the eviction notice was given to 244 families in Dhalpur No. 3 village at midnight and were asked to vacate within a few hours.
“They did not give time to the people to dismantle their houses and three mosques. Although the people agreed to shift quietly, the police started damaging their belongings and setting them on fire. This agitated the villagers,” he alleges.
The students’ body demanded a thorough judicial probe into the Sipajhar incident where two Muslims, including a minor, were shot dead in open police firing.
“An inquiry by a sitting judge of the Gauhati High Court-monitored by the Chief Justice of the said High Court is much needed so that hose guilty don’t go scot-free,” AAMSU demanded.
On Friday, Assam Minorities Students’ Union, Jamiat-e-Ulema, and a few other Muslim organizations have jointly observed a 12-hour band in Darrang district of Assam in protest against Thursday’s police killings.