Assam: Massive eviction drive underway in Sonitpur, Bengali Muslims at the receiving end

The BJP government of Assam has given the green signal to a massive eviction drive in the Sonitpur district on Saturday to clear 330 acres of “encroached land.”

The drive will be carried out at No. 3 Chitalmari area in Barchalla assembly constituency, currently represented by BJP MLA Ganesh Kumar Limbu, along the northern bank of Brahmaputra River, according to The Sentinal.

The most number of families living here are Bengali-speaking Muslims, followed by Bengali Hindus and Gorkhas.

About 50 excavators have been pushed into action to demolish the houses and other structures.

According to government records, 299 families were living in the area.

Special Director General of Police (law and order) Gyanendra Pratap Singh said the state government was planning to set up a solar power plant at the site.

“We have been living here for decades,” a woman told PTI news agency. “We have no jobs and live off the fields here. We don’t know where we will go.”

The Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government has conducted several eviction drives to clear plots of government land of alleged encroachment. Many of those who have been evicted or are being asked to vacate are poor Bengali speaking Muslims who had earlier lost land in floods and erosion.

During one of these drives in October 2021, two Muslims including a minor boy were killed by authorities in Darrang district’s Sipajhar area after the Assam Police opened fire on villagers protesting against the eviction.