The land-Jihad being propagated by Islamists by using illegal Bangladeshis has met fierce opposition in recent times. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has been at the forefront of this battle and this time he has liberated an extremely large area in Lumding from Bangladeshi encroachers.
Eviction drive successful in Hojai:
On Monday (November 8, 2021), the Assam administration launched an eviction drive in the Lumding reserve forest in Hojai district to weed out the illegal occupation of the forest land by a group of people. According to the reports, the Himanta administration has been successful in evicting a total of 550 families out of 670 on the first day of the eviction drive. Rest 120 families will be evicted on Tuesday. A total of 500 hectares of encroached land out of 1410 has been released by the administration for the people of the state.
Talking to the media, Hojai district administration Anupam Verma said, “We have evicted 550 families. The people had already vacated their dwellings before the administration began the eviction. A few people have not left the place till now due to some issues. They will also leave the place by Tuesday. We will clear the remaining encroached land on Tuesday,”
Heavy security arrangements made eviction peaceful:
The district administration is said to have arranged more than 1,000 troops from state police and CRPF to support the eviction drive. The presence of law enforcement agencies in large numbers ensured that the eviction drive was peaceful and illegal settlers cooperated with state administration during the drive. The administration further informed that most of the encroachers had already vacated the place even before the launch of the encroachment drive.
CM Himanta is happy with the efforts:
Meanwhile, CM Himanta Biswa Sharma has expressed satisfaction with the initial success of the eviction drive. In a statement to ANI, he said, “Eviction drive has been carried out peacefully in Lumding forest. Everyone (settlers) has been sent home. The forest is free of encroachment from today. Detailed statement to be released in the evening.”
Eviction drive has been carried out peacefully in Lumding forest. Everyone (settlers) has been sent home. The forest is free of encroachment from today. Detailed statement to be released in the evening: Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma pic.twitter.com/jJiyzaj1Le
He further apprised the country about the involvement of a local named Nazrul who played a pivotal role in settling these illegal people in the forest.
Mr Sarma informed that an FIR has been filed against him. “When asked, people said one Nazrul had helped them settle in the forest. We have filed an FIR in the matter. We know that Nazrul cannot do this without the help of department officials. Everything will come out once the police pick up Nazrul.” said Himanta.
Encroachers had support from locals:
Nearly 3,000 people had occupied more than 1,410 hectares of land on the forest after making alliances with the local land mafias. As they provide cheap labour, various traders in the region had established links with them. Buoyed by traders’ support, the encroachers were engaged in the farming of crops like ginger and turmeric. The gross value of turmeric produced every year is estimated to be more than 25 crores.
The irregularities in the forest land came to light when Hojai’s BJP MLA Shiladitya Dev filed a PIL in the Gauhati High Court early this year following which the court passed an order on September 14 to make the forest encroachment-free.
Encroachers, Islamists, and the problems faced by law-enforcement agencies:
The eviction drive came a month after Assam police were brutally attacked by Islamists in an anti-encroachment drive in Darrang district. As reported by the TFI, the incident took place at Dholpur village in Sipajhar when the police went to evict 60 families from the encroached area. More than 10,000 people attacked them with spears, machetes, knives, and other locally available weapons. The resultant pushback by the police ended up in the deaths of two and injuring nine people.
Assam’s problem with immigration and encroachment precedes India’s independence; it just got exponentially exacerbated after the unfortunate division of India into two countries. As illegal immigrants flocked to Assam they started looking for lands to settle. Since they used to move in large numbers, it became tough for any individual to oppose them. Slowly, they harped on the infamous ‘land-jihad.’ Illegal immigration was so much into focus, that its effect of land-jihad did not come to the limelight before the Assam assembly elections in 2021. Home minister Amit Shah had promised to tackle land-jihad along with love-jihad if the BJP government were to take charge. After coming to power, Himanta Biswa Sarma started a drive against this menace and freed 1000s of Bighas of land in districts like Hojai, Karimganj and Darrai.
Recently, India has seen voices of dissent against various forms of Jihad promulgated by the Islamoleftist forces in the country. Land-Jihad is one of them. As Assam and Uttarakhand governments embark on the mission to eliminate this menace, other state governments should start following the trajectory set by both these states.