The eviction drive at Amchang wildlife sanctuary on the city outskirts, which was put on hold by the state government in August following protests, will resume on Monday even as the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) took out a massive protest rally today in protest against the decision of Dispur.
The state government officially maintains that the eviction drive was suspended after requests from some settlers who wished to vacate the forestland voluntarily and to chalk out a better execution plan.
The eviction drive was carried out after a Gauhati High Court order.
The protest rally taken out by KMSS was participated by hundreds of people from the area who demanded the government to halt the eviction until an alternative place provided to them for settlement.
Coming down heavily on Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, KMSS leader Dharya Konwar said that the Chief Minister is now not committed to the indigenous people of the State.
“Chief Minister Sonowal now works at the interest of the capitalists; he is not concerned with the interest of indigenous people of Assam,” Konwar told reporters on Sunday.
Apart from KMSS, organisations like the Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK), an organisation of Mising students, had protested against the eviction of people belonging to indigenous communities like the Misings, Rabhas and Boros, who had settled in Amchang after losing their homes to erosion in Majuli, Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts.
The state forest department, in an affidavit filed in Gauhati High Court recently, said another drive would be undertaken in November to free the wildlife sanctuary of encroachment.
Amchang wildlife sanctuary, on the eastern fringes of the city, comprises Amchang, South Amchang and Khanapara reserve forests.
Of its 78.64 square km area, around 500 hectares, mostly in the Khanapara reserve forest, were being encroached upon.
Earlier in August this year, in an eviction drive launched at the wildlife sanctuary, 283 houses were dismantled, clearing about 200 hectares of forestland. Around 2,000 people were affected.