Kolkata: “We met his (Moinul Haque) small daughter and son. The daughter was sobbing inconsolably and had not had anything since the incident took place. The family and community are traumatised, children in particular. The entire family is living under a makeshift house made of tin,” mentioned , press release shared by the CPIML team, after meeting the family.
A CPIML Liberation team visited the site of the infamous eviction and killing at Dhalpur, Darrang district, Assam.
On September 25, a delegation led by CPIML met the family members of Moinul Haque, the very poor peasant who was shot dead by Assam Police.
The report also pointed out, “We saw two homes near Moinul Haque’s house, which had not only been demolished but also burnt down.”
The incident, which came to the fore because of a video going viral, had shocked the world, especially in the manner, the poor peasant was shot at and then a photographer pouncing on his motionless body. “Moinul was defending his home from arson and firing by the police & the ‘photographer’ associated with the DM’s office. What can justify 17 Assam police personnel opening fire on a lone man armed with nothing but a stick? This is not crowd control, it is not an ‘encounter’, it is murder,” the members claimed.
The report also said that no process of eviction was followed by the administration, and they termed it, ‘illegal evictions.’
Eviction Notices have been served to some through Whatsapp calls the previous night, some got notices after eviction, and some have not yet received notices at all.
The visiting team questioned, “What was the tearing hurry to evict by force, without even serving notices properly?”
The administration has acted against the locals as encroachers, but most of them had settlement papers and they lost their land from flood-related erosion.
The team termed the ‘encroachers’ as erosion affected farmers.
“The evicted households have settlement papers dating back to 7 February 1979, showing that they have been paying occupancy charges. The government has set up Aanganawadi Kendras and schools among others. When the river floods their land they are displaced onto government land. How can such households be termed ‘encroachments’?” it reads.
The team also found that the Land Policy is unjust, and made to benefit Corporates, not ‘indigenous’ people.
“The 2019 Land Policy and Brahma Committee report talks of evicting non-indigenous “encroachers” from government land which will be distributed to ‘indigenous’. The definition of ‘indigenous’ is not provided in the policy – why are families of Bengali-descent Muslims considered non-indigenous when they have lived on the land for 4 or 5 decades.”
Moreover, erosion-affected persons in Laika and Dadiya in Tinsukia who fit the BJP’s definition of “indigenous” are yet to get the government land they are demanding. Why divide erosion affected persons based on ethnicity or religion?
The fine print of the Land Policy makes it clear that even the “indigenous” Assamese are not going to receive any land. The whole thing is a ploy to grab land to hand over to corporate as is already happening near the airport, at Mikir Bamuni among others.
After visiting, CPI-MLmade demands:
The CM Himanta Biswa Sarma responsible for the communal eviction policy and his brother the SP of Darrang Sushanta Biswa Sarma conducted the murderous attack must resign.
Directions of the Supreme Court in its order dated 23.09.2014 in People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs. Union of India [(2014) 10 SCC 635] (on police encounter killings) must be strictly complied with. There should be a registration of FIR regarding the killing of Moinul Haque and Sheikh Farid. An independent investigation into this must be conducted by the CID or police team of another police station under the supervision of a senior officer. The police officer(s) concerned must surrender their weapons for forensic and ballistic analysis, including any other material as required for investigation.
The SP Darrang and police personnel involved in firing and arson must be sacked, arrested and charged under all appropriate criminal sections including murder, arson and attempt to murder.
No more evictions of the poor under any pretext. Instead evict the super-rich who have built resorts in forest core zones, tea companies who have occupied 6354 acres of land to illegally set up tea gardens, encroachments by industries in tribal belts, and the BJP office built on Govt land in Guwahati.
Stop the communal propaganda claiming that temples are being encroached on by ‘illegal immigrants’. In fact, at Darrang the temple has been kept safe in an area where almost 99% families are Muslim. The Hindu caretaker of the temple Parvati Das has also been evicted under the Land policy. If the Govt speaks of preserving sacred sites (“satras”) – why is the land grab near the airport destroying the “koita siddhi satra” near it?
Local communities are providing relief to the displaced persons but the Government must take responsibility and provide relief including medical camps, drinking water, food, shelter, and hygiene.
All evicted persons at Darrang must be restored to their lands and their homes must be rebuilt.
The team comprised Politburo member Kavita Krishnan, CPIML MLA from Bihar Comrade Rambali Singh Yadav, Central Committee member and Karnataka secretary Clifton D’Rozario, Central Committee member and Assam State Committed member Balindra Saikia. They were accompanied by Bihar youth activist Ravi Ranjan,
AIKS leader Jayanta Gogoi, Jipal Krishok Sromik Sangha leader Pranab Doley, Sangrami Krishok Sromik Sangha leaders Dinesh Das and Jehirul Islam.