Around one thousand residents of Alomganj Part -9 village in western Assam’s Dhubri district on Thursday gathered on National Highway -17 at Panbari area to protest against the government’s decision to evict them.

The Dhubri district administration has recently allotted a plot of land measuring over 250 bighas to the Border Security Force (BSF) and accordingly the BSF has also started fencing the entire area.

The sources said that BSF authorities have asked the residents to vacate the area on or before August 17.

On Thursday, the residents gathered in the area to send out a message to the Assam government that they cannot be evicted in the midst of the ongoing pandemic without the arrangements of rehabilitation.

When they tried to block the National Highway 17, police resorted to lathi-charge and chased them away.

A resident of Alomganj Part– 9  village who had come to join the protest programme, said, “This is what they do with innocent people like us–we have no space to even raise our voice and share our anxieties.”

“No one wants to protest amid Covid -19, but there is no option before us. The police are asking us to go back to our homes and not protest but they are taking away our homes too, where do we go?” said another resident.

The anxieties of the residents continue to rise with their voices being suppressed and no arrangement for their rehabilitation is being made.

Although the date for the eviction has not been finalized yet, the eviction would be carried out in the next week.

The residents, who are being labelled as encroachers, reiterated that they were given settlement by the then state government and living in this area for the last couple of decades.

“We have lost our original land and homes due to erosion of Brahmaputra long years back and since then, we are residing here along with our family, but now the authorities asked us to vacate the land,” said another resident.

Mukesh Kr Singh

Mukesh Kr Singh is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dhubri. He can be reached at: mkdhubri@gmail.com