Government, xatra & tribal land grab
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Aug 13: The issue of encroachment of government, xatra and tribal lands by people of doubtful citizenship and to make such land encroachment-free, rocked the Assembly on Saturday with ruling and opposition members engaging in high decibel vocal slugfest, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House twice.
The Speaker even used marshals to control agitated AIUDF and Congress MLAs and escort them out of the House for a brief period when the bedlam reached a crescendo.
After the ruckus when the members settled on their seats, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary asserted that the State government will not compromise on efforts to make the encroached land free of encroachers.
The issue was raised by BJP MLA Binondo Saikia in the House, saying that around 3,000 bighas of land under Sipajhar Revenue Circle have been encroached upon. Saikia further stated that not only 3,000 bighas of land — xatra land, temple land and similar other land are being continuously grabbed in different parts of the State.
There is an Act which the State government can use to deal with the encroachment problem in Sipajhar, but no action has been taken, despite a direction given by the Supreme Court in this regard, said Saikia, adding that such encroachment is posing a grave threat to the indigenous people of the State.
On the Sipajhar encroachment issue, Congress MLA Sherman Ali indirectly tried to tell the House that encroachment at Sipajhar was not done by illegal tiols, rather erosion-affected people have settled there, so their eviction should be done by taking different factors into consideration.
However, BJP MLAs, strongly reacting to Ali’s statement, demanded that such land be made encroachment-free at any cost. Intense verbal clashes ensued when Congress and the AIUDF MLAs rose to their feet, voicing their sympathy for the ‘erosion-hit’ people at Sipajhar.
Sherman Ali placed a figure before the members saying that there are 1.2 lakh displaced people in the State and all are not doubtful citizens. The Speaker then asked him to stop, but Ali went to the Well of the House and started protesting. Then BJP MLAs also proceeded towards the Well to protest against Ali.
Amid the ruckus, the Speaker adjourned the House for 10 minutes, but the shouting began after the adjournment period was over.
Targeting but without ming Sherman Ali and Wajed Ali Chowdhury of the Congress, BJP MLA Ramakanta Deuri alleged that not only the State is flooded by illegal Bangladeshis, but there are also a few Bangladeshis in the House.
Deuri’s statement triggered a huge uproarand marshals were used by the Speaker to control unruly members in the House, which was again adjourned for 10 minutes.
When the session resumed, Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia said, “We don’t want any illegal foreign tiols in the State but no genuine India citizens should be harassed in the process. Targeting somebody by calling him Bangladeshi will not serve any purpose. We all have been elected by Indian voters.”
AGP MLA Tapan Gogoi informed one Kamaluddin, a declared Bangladeshi, had fought elections in Assam twice. “Had he won the elections, he would have been sitting in the Assembly,” said Gogoi.
Later the Speaker informed the House that comments made by Sherman Ali and Ramakanta Deuri have been expunged from the business of the House.