Settle Claims of Tribals Under Forest Rights Act | Immediately Halt Evictions
NAPM Condemns Killing of 3 People in Guwahati | Demands Action Against Officials
New Delhi / Guwahati, June 22nd : Today at 12:30 pm Assam State police opened fire, killing three, on a demonstration led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti – a NAPM constituent, demanding halt to the ongoing eviction drive for more than a week around the city of Guwahati. We strongly condemn this ghastly act of the Assam Government. Assamese Tribals and other working class people living on the hills surrounding the city were being evicted by the government in the pretext of removing encroachments. While some might have encroached the land but there are claims under Forest Rights Act to be settled. Some of these residents have submitted their claims under the FRA. However, the government has done nothing to address those and instead started evictions which had made the situation tense in the city.
The opposition to the eviction drive in localities like Chachal, Shilshaku, Gaurchak has been supported by many organisations of the city including Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti. Save Guwahati and Build Guwahati President, Dhiren Baruah said “There should be a scientific solution rather than random eviction. People are living in these areas for a long time. A detailed census should be done in these areas and the government should give pattas to those residing for a long time. But they should also be instructed to build their houses in a scientific way so that it doesn’t affect the eco-system”. KMSS-NAPM supporting the claims of the residents demand that their rights be settled under the FRA and not only titles to the land but also community rights for use of other resources be also given to them.
Rather than addressing the claims, today when more than 10,000 people gathered near the Secretariat demanding their claims, Deputy Commissioner refused to meet the protestors. Soon the police lobbed tear gas and started canning the protestors. In the milieu many people got injured and started running for cover. Police later resorted to firing which killed three people, including one minor. Many of the men and women have suffered injuries, including one woman who is being treated for critical injury.
Even as we write, Akhil Gogoi, KMSS General Secretary and other activists are having a meeting with the Commissioner after the incident. True to his anti democratic stance, Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi has refused a meeting with the protestors. The administration has promised that a meeting will be convened on 28th June with the Principal Secretaries of the department of Forests, Revenue, Tribal Welfare and KMSS to discuss various issues to be followed by a meeting with Chief Secretary.
KMSS has however, made it clear that the rights of the tribals under the FRA has to be settled and a peaceful and credible settlement to the people living in the hills for more than two or three generations has to be found.
NAPM strongly condemns this highhandedness of the Assam Government and demands action against the officials responsible for the ghastly incident.
After the recent elections we had said, “…that the victory of the same government means difficult times ahead for people’s movements but we will continue to challenge the ineptness and corruption in the governance and fight for communities control of natural resources and their means of livelihood …” We reiterate our resolve to struggle for justice and dignity to the millions of the people of Assam and this country.
This incident once again exposes the anti people face of the Congress government and the lack of an effective rule in the state. A state turning against its people for demanding their due rights is extremely shameful and indicates demise of complete democratic. We strongly condemn such an act and demand an independent enquiry in to the whole incident. We also urge that Union government must intervene in this and ensure timely implementation of the Forest Rights Act to save further conflict in the country.
Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Roma, Prafulla Samantara, Suniti S R, Rajendra Ravi, Bhupendera Singh Rawat, Madhuresh Kumar
For details contact : Arupjyoti Saikia 9435557483 | Madhuresh Kumar 9818905316