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Temple, gaushala on the list of Assam CM’s plans for Gorukhuti

Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the village in Dhalpur region, where large scale eviction had been carried out and also where Assam Police had in September opened fire on evicted families

Sabrangindia 02 Dec 2021

Himanta Biswa Sarma
Image: Twitter

On December 1, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited Gorukhuti, a village that derives its name from the humble cattle herders who inhabit it. Sarma was here to reveal his grand plans for the village that was in news in September this year for large scale eviction of families of people the government has dubbed as “encroachers”.

Taking to Twitter, Sarma documented his entire visit, patting his administration on the back yet again for ridding the area of “encroachers”.

 

 

One of the first things on the Chief Minister’s itinerary was a visit to the Shiva temple that stands at the heart of the controversy. The CM promised, “Temple will be developed into a spiritual tourist attraction with improved infra by constructing boundary walls, guest house, concrete pavement etc.”

 

 

The CM then went on to inaugurate a project related to checking river erosion, something locals struggle with in this riverine area of the state. He also posed for photos in a mustard field that was being cultivated as part of the “agricultural project for indigenous youth”. According to the CM, “Over 5,000 bighas of land in Gorukhuti have been turned into agriculture fields; mustard farming done on 2,731 bighas.”

And it was the agricultural project that Sarma was most interested in showcasing, given how it was for this project that the evictions were ordered. “Gorukhuti project is a great opportunity for our youth to take up dairy & agriculture. They must dedicate themselves to agriculture and take control of our farmlands occupied by illegal infiltrators for so long,” tweeted Sarma.

 

 

After a few more stops inaugurating a road, a Weaving Training centre and a few more photo ops distributing farm equipment and planting saplings, Sarma shifted focus to gaushalas (cow sheds) in the region. “We are committed to making Gorukhuti one of the prime dairy farming centres in the North East,” he said. In fact, the road that was inaugurated earlier in the day, was to enable dairy farmers to access markets for their produce with greater ease.

 

 

However, it is noteworthy, that the families that were evicted in two drives from this region in September, were also doing exactly what the CM envisions for the people of the region – engaging in agriculture and dairy farming. But given how they were Bengali-speaking Muslims, they were viewed as “outsiders” and “encroachers”, in a state where cross-border migration is a touchy subject.

Over the past few months, SabrangIndia has been reporting on the persistent eviction drives being carried out by the Assam government. While the action is being taken under the guise of cracking down on illegal encroachments to enable community farming, the sheer inhumanity of the evictions is evident in how people are being left shelter-less amidst the monsoon season even as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on. It also cannot be denied that Bengali-speaking Muslims have borne a greater impact of these evictions.

In an exclusive report from December 2019, SabrangIndia had reported previously on how the BJP government was using the Land Police (2019) to allegedly evict 70 lakh Muslims and 60 lakh Bengali Hindus. This was with respect to lands in tribal belts and char areas. This was to be redistributed among other indigenous people in the state. In furtherance of its overall ideological game plan to disenfranchise and invisibilise India’s minorities, the plot can be spotted in points 1.11 and 1.12 of the Land Policy 2019, exclusively sourced by SabrangIndia.

Without defining who the indigenous peoples of Assam are, deliberately excluding sections who have toiled in the state from the turn of the 20th century, both the Brahma Committee report followed by the Land Policy 2019 provide for a change of user of these lands. 

As SabrangIndia has reported previously, the Chief Minister had, just a day after the attack, refused to take action against district authorities and his own brother Sushanta Biswa Sarma, who heads the police in Darrang. He asked, “Why should I fire the District Collector and SP of Darrang when they were operating under my orders?” He tried to blame “outsiders” who he claimed had instigated locals to attack the police, forcing them to fire in retaliation.

Even then, Sarma had shot down demands for relocating evicted families saying, “Those who come from Baghbor and Sarukhetri, they have their own land at home. So why should I give them lands? It's not my own land that I'll give anyone I want. But those who are landless, I'll give them 6 bighas of land as per the Land Act of Assam. And I have been saying this for two months!”

Related:

Evicted families will be rehabilitated only if name appears in NRC: Assam Gov’t to Gauhati HC

EXCLUSIVE: Three infants from evicted families die in Assam

Assam police firing: CJP aids families of victims move HC

Assam Police Firing: 12-year-old shot dead while returning home from Aadhaar centre!

Photo Feature: Evicted villagers struggle to rebuild lives in Dhalpur

Finally, FIRs filed in Dhalpur firing death cases

Temple, gaushala on the list of Assam CM’s plans for Gorukhuti

Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the village in Dhalpur region, where large scale eviction had been carried out and also where Assam Police had in September opened fire on evicted families

Himanta Biswa Sarma
Image: Twitter

On December 1, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited Gorukhuti, a village that derives its name from the humble cattle herders who inhabit it. Sarma was here to reveal his grand plans for the village that was in news in September this year for large scale eviction of families of people the government has dubbed as “encroachers”.

Taking to Twitter, Sarma documented his entire visit, patting his administration on the back yet again for ridding the area of “encroachers”.

 

 

One of the first things on the Chief Minister’s itinerary was a visit to the Shiva temple that stands at the heart of the controversy. The CM promised, “Temple will be developed into a spiritual tourist attraction with improved infra by constructing boundary walls, guest house, concrete pavement etc.”

 

 

The CM then went on to inaugurate a project related to checking river erosion, something locals struggle with in this riverine area of the state. He also posed for photos in a mustard field that was being cultivated as part of the “agricultural project for indigenous youth”. According to the CM, “Over 5,000 bighas of land in Gorukhuti have been turned into agriculture fields; mustard farming done on 2,731 bighas.”

And it was the agricultural project that Sarma was most interested in showcasing, given how it was for this project that the evictions were ordered. “Gorukhuti project is a great opportunity for our youth to take up dairy & agriculture. They must dedicate themselves to agriculture and take control of our farmlands occupied by illegal infiltrators for so long,” tweeted Sarma.

 

 

After a few more stops inaugurating a road, a Weaving Training centre and a few more photo ops distributing farm equipment and planting saplings, Sarma shifted focus to gaushalas (cow sheds) in the region. “We are committed to making Gorukhuti one of the prime dairy farming centres in the North East,” he said. In fact, the road that was inaugurated earlier in the day, was to enable dairy farmers to access markets for their produce with greater ease.

 

 

However, it is noteworthy, that the families that were evicted in two drives from this region in September, were also doing exactly what the CM envisions for the people of the region – engaging in agriculture and dairy farming. But given how they were Bengali-speaking Muslims, they were viewed as “outsiders” and “encroachers”, in a state where cross-border migration is a touchy subject.

Over the past few months, SabrangIndia has been reporting on the persistent eviction drives being carried out by the Assam government. While the action is being taken under the guise of cracking down on illegal encroachments to enable community farming, the sheer inhumanity of the evictions is evident in how people are being left shelter-less amidst the monsoon season even as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on. It also cannot be denied that Bengali-speaking Muslims have borne a greater impact of these evictions.

In an exclusive report from December 2019, SabrangIndia had reported previously on how the BJP government was using the Land Police (2019) to allegedly evict 70 lakh Muslims and 60 lakh Bengali Hindus. This was with respect to lands in tribal belts and char areas. This was to be redistributed among other indigenous people in the state. In furtherance of its overall ideological game plan to disenfranchise and invisibilise India’s minorities, the plot can be spotted in points 1.11 and 1.12 of the Land Policy 2019, exclusively sourced by SabrangIndia.

Without defining who the indigenous peoples of Assam are, deliberately excluding sections who have toiled in the state from the turn of the 20th century, both the Brahma Committee report followed by the Land Policy 2019 provide for a change of user of these lands. 

As SabrangIndia has reported previously, the Chief Minister had, just a day after the attack, refused to take action against district authorities and his own brother Sushanta Biswa Sarma, who heads the police in Darrang. He asked, “Why should I fire the District Collector and SP of Darrang when they were operating under my orders?” He tried to blame “outsiders” who he claimed had instigated locals to attack the police, forcing them to fire in retaliation.

Even then, Sarma had shot down demands for relocating evicted families saying, “Those who come from Baghbor and Sarukhetri, they have their own land at home. So why should I give them lands? It's not my own land that I'll give anyone I want. But those who are landless, I'll give them 6 bighas of land as per the Land Act of Assam. And I have been saying this for two months!”

Related:

Evicted families will be rehabilitated only if name appears in NRC: Assam Gov’t to Gauhati HC

EXCLUSIVE: Three infants from evicted families die in Assam

Assam police firing: CJP aids families of victims move HC

Assam Police Firing: 12-year-old shot dead while returning home from Aadhaar centre!

Photo Feature: Evicted villagers struggle to rebuild lives in Dhalpur

Finally, FIRs filed in Dhalpur firing death cases

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