KOKRAJHAR: Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM) on Monday questioned if the bureaucrats would follow the Gauhati High Court order to evict all illegal encroachers who were occupying land in tribal belts and blocks.
Talking to this reporter, the working president of the BJSM, Daorao Dekhreb Narzary said the BJSM welcomed the order of the Gauhati High Court but at the same time they wanted the Deputy Commissioner and Principal Secretary to act accordingly. He said that the Gauhati High Court had ordered the Deputy Commissioners of some districts and the Principal Secretary of the BTC to evict all non-tribal people possessing lands in the protected tribal belts/blocks of the State.
The court has also asked the Deputy Commissioners and the Principal Secretary concerned to file their personal affidavits with regard to the action taken for removal of illegal encroachments from the protected areas by February 3, 2020. The court has also warned that if appropriate steps are not taken to give effect to the order, it (the court) may consider costs, which the officers responsible for causing a delay in the process of the court will have to cough up from their salary.
Narzary said they had doubts about whether the bureaucrats would follow the directives of the Gauhati High Court strictly. He said that as per chapter X of Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886 and amended in 1947, no non-tribal had the right to occupy land in tribal belts and blocks but despite all this, illegal encroachers were having a field day in occupying tribal lands under the nose of the district administration and government machinery.
“The massive encroachment in tribal belts and blocks happened due to government policy. It is a shame on the part of the Government of Assam that it failed to evict all illegal encroachers as per chapter X of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act and now the High Court has been compelled to issue an order to act,” said Narzary, adding that they always wanted action against the illegal encroachers. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in response to their demand, directed the Government of Assam to evict the illegal non-tribal encroachers from tribal belts and blocks and the Assam Government also issued necessary directives to their bureaucrats in 2014 but nothing had happened as yet.
The tribal leader said that Mojabari, Chota Mojabari, and Dologaon villages were included in tribal belts and blocks under the Sidli belt in Chirang district on December 5, 1947, and all these villages were inhabited by the Bodos but now Muslim migrants had illegally occupied these villages. He said that the Chirang District Magistrate had already surveyed the land and announced that these lands belonged to the Bodos. He also said that since land was a subject to the BTC, the council had the authority to deal with it but the council was not in a position to transfer tribal lands to encroachers. He said that in the Gossaigaon subdivision, Bodo villages like Pakhihaga, Fulkumari, Nilaijhora, Silgagri, and Sukanbaonai had been taken over by the illegal encroachers from Jharkhand. He also urged Assam Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami to visit riot-affected Bodo villages as assured by him earlier.
Narzary said that 3,49,505 bighas of land under tribal belts and blocks in the BTC area had been illegal encroached upon immigrants.
The order had been pronounced recently by a two-judge bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua in connection with a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) (78/2012). The order has been issued to the Deputy Commissioners of Bongaigaon, Kamrup (M), Morigaon, Sonitpur, and Tinsukia, besides the Principal Secretary of the BTC that has under it four districts – Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.