On Wednesday, the Guwahati High Court, while hearing a batch of petitions regarding the evictions and ensuing violence in Darrand district, was told that the Government of Assam would not take any extreme action against any of the people it urges to evict unless it is hugely forced to do so.
The Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Kakheto Sema, and the Chief Minister of Assam recorded the submission made on behalf of the State government in the order issued today.
Advocate Debojit Saika’s statement:
“As of now, for the remaining files action will be adopted. If and when it is adopted, the writ petition is free to approach the Court,” the order stated.
Advocate General Debojit Saika submitted that the rehabilitation of evicted and displaced persons would be carried out to 1000 bighas of land that have been restricted for the purpose after the following aspects are ascertained:
- Are the persons truly landless, including in the districts they migrated from?
- Are they landless due to the effects of erosion?
- Are their names in the previous censuses proving their citizenship status?
Chief Minister’s points:
The CM submitted that the details on steps taken are in the affidavit. He stated that all efforts will be taken to ascertain the facts and circumstances leading to the incident and whether any external forces or organisations were inciting the “mob violence” that ensued.
The CM also made pointed remarks regarding the motive behind filing the instant PIL, which he argued was merely political. “The people at the ground they know the situation, not the lawyer outside or the leader of the opposition of assembly.
The ground reality is that people are not coming before this Court. These are all politically motivated PILs.” He spoke. However, the Bench commented that this was not an aspect for them to look into. It orally remarked that these days, everything in the political world.
Regarding news reports of the incident and the previous hearing of the case, the CM took an opposing view and spoke. “After last hearing, the national media has projected this case in wrong manner. Putting words in Lordship’s mouth also.”
Order of the Bench:
Advocate Talha Abdul Rahman, appearing for the petitioner, categorically stated that the injury that has been ordered is not satisfactory, and neither is the affidavit filed by the government.
He alleged that the affidavit is vague and does not clarify whether the magistrate who is alleged to have ordered the police firing is not the same one who was appointed to conduct the initial magisterial enquiry. However, he submitted that he would file a re-join once the CM’s files the additional affidavit.
Meanwhile, he requested a statement from the CM that notice is served before the eviction of any persons. The CM refused to submit information to the effect but reiterated that no force would be used unless the State was compelled to do so.
Justice BD Agarwal’s inquiry:
“We are consulting with remaining families, and we are trying to convince them to shift. That process will go on and we will not use force till we are compelled to”, he stated. The Court recorded this submission and noted that a one-person Commission of Inquiry of retired High Court judge.
Justice BD Agarwal was appointed to inquire into the violence which led to the death of two persons and injury to many, including police staff. Two civilians had died after the Assam Police opened fire at villagers protesting against the forced eviction carried out on September 23.