Assam Authorities launched a series of eviction campaigns in Assam’s Sonitpur and Nagaon districts to clear out nearly 2,000 hectares of land from illegal encroachment in the Bura Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary also known as (Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary).
In the Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary, most of the suspected invaders, who are predominantly Bengali-speaking Muslims and Rohingyas, had fled their homes after receiving eviction notices in recent weeks. Some were in the process of vacating their premises when the eviction campaign began.
‘Illegal settlers’ were seen loading their belongings onto tractor trucks at various locations since the morning, including as bulldozers were deployed to demolish their houses.
Rohingya’s evicted in Assam
Houses are being demolished and swaths of vegetable fields are being cleared in the campaign against the encroachment. Several JCBs were brought in to carry out the eviction campaign.
The campaign against the invasion witnessed clashes between alleged invaders and police personnel. The security forces brandished the sticks on the demonstrators who threw stones at them to avoid the eviction and some of them affirmed that they were taking them from their houses before the stipulated date.
According to the Sonitpur and Nagaon district administration, a large amount of government land has been illegally occupied by squatters in the area and the administration had already sent them notices to vacate the land a month ago.
Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary stretches across 44.06 square kilometers on the southern shore of Brahmaputra. It is located about 180 km east of Guwahati and 40 km south of the city of Tezpur. It is part of the Laokhowa-Burachapori ecosystem and is a notified buffer zone of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, which is home to one-horned rhino, tiger, leopard, wild buffalo, hog deer, wild boar and elephant.
1,900 hectares invaded
About 11,000 of we were living illegally on the encroached land, but most have already left after the eviction notice was given a month ago.
More than 1,900 hectares of land around the Burhachapori wildlife sanctuary have been invaded by 2,500 illegal houses, mosques and school buildings.
Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner Deba Kumar Mishra told PTI that thousands of people ‘illegally occupied’ the forest and nearby areas for decades and that the administration decided to remove the ‘invasion’ of 1,892 hectares of land during the ongoing exercise until Thursday.
“Of these 1,892 hectares, 1,401 are within the sanctuary and the rest is government land. 1,758 families made up of 6,965 people live in the forest area,” he said.
According to the latest survey, 755 families made up of 4,645 people reside on state land, the official said.
Earlier, on December 26, the Barpeta district administration in Assam carried out a mass eviction campaign against the invaders.
The anti-invasion campaign was carried out in the presence of tight security in the Baghbar Satra Kanara area, where some people have invaded nearly 400 bighas of government land.
How much forest land is under encroachment in India
The current encroachment, according to the ministry data in the country is 7,40,973 hectares of forest land in 37 states.
Assam tops the list with 3,77,500 strange hectares that are being invaded. The northeastern states alone account for ~60% of the total (with ~4,60,000 hectares invaded). Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Goa have all claimed that no forest land is being encroached on in their states.
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