HOJAI: Weeks after an eviction drive at Dholpur in Assam’s Darrang district saw the killings of two civilians in police firing, which made international headlines, the state government is all set to carry out a similar drive on Monday to evict settlers from Lumding reserve forest in Hojai district, for which the administration has deployed a 1,000-strong police and CRPF personnel there.
The eviction will be carried out on about 500 out of 1,410 hectares of encroached land of the forest on Monday and Tuesday. Acting on an order of the Gauhati high court, the state government will clear the 1,410 hectares of encroached land in a phased manner. Hojai deputy commissioner Anupam Choudhury told TOI that the situation in the area is normal at present and over 99% of the families have left after district administration counselled them to leave the place. “A total of 670 families had settled there and were engaged in cultivation.
We have counselled the people for the last couple of days. Now, less than 1% of families are there, who too will leave the place by Monday,” Choudhury added. He said the settlers understood the order of the HC during counselling and left the place. “It is going to be a smooth eviction,” he added. On September 23, two civilians, including a 12-year-old child, were killed in police firing at Dholpur when the villagers attacked cops and district administration officials during eviction.
Meanwhile, Hojai superintendent of police Barun Purkayastha told TOI that around 1,000 police and CRPF personnel have been deployed in Lumding reserve forest for three days from Sunday.
“Deployment of police and CRPF personnel is a normal procedure. It is done to avoid any possible unwanted situation. However, the situation here in the forest is normal as maximum families have already left their occupied land,” he added.
Witnesses stay away on day 1 of hearing
Investigators of the Dholpur incident in Assam’s Darrang district, where two civilians were killed in police firing during an eviction drive in September, held a public hearing on Sunday in Sipajhar to record statements of eyewitnesses or individuals and organisations on the incident, reports Mukut Das. The district development commissioner, Subhalaxmi Deka, who is the investigation officer, said no individual or organisation had gone to give a verbal statement or submitted a written statement on the incident before the authorities on Sunday.


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