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Indian authorities have forcefully evicted 5,000 people, including women, children and elderly, in Assam state in a crackdown against Muslims residents in the area.
In 2019, Assam published a list of people considered to be citizens, rendering some 1.9 million excluded people virtually stateless. A day ago, authorities evicted 800 Muslim families claiming they had occupied the land, forcing them to live under the open sky.
Two people were killed and eleven others were injured when Indian police resorted to violence against Muslims in Assam in a bid to drive them from alleged encroachments on government land.
The clashes occurred at Dholpur 3 in northern Assam’s Darrang area, one of the four places where the police targeted its anti-encroachment drive. Around 800 families have been evicted from the land, who are accused of “illegally occupying” government property.
Brutal clashes broke out between the police and locals during the eviction drive in which two people were killed. A large number of people gathered to protest the eviction drive.
These evictions were supervised by BJP legislator Mangaldoi. Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that evictions will continue. Two mosques and a madrassah were also demolished in the drive.
A video from the incident has gone viral on social media. In the video, several Assam cops can be seen in anti-riot gear, mercilessly thrashing a man with sticks even as he lay motionless on the ground.
A man carrying a camera can be seen angrily stomping the man’s face as he lays on the ground. Another police officer then jumps in and hits the man on the face with a stick before the others beckon him to leave.
The video has earned the ire of the Indian public on social media as many expressed their shock and disgust by the brutal aggression. An Indian reporter Arunab Saikia also condemned the incident, saying that some “horrific visuals” were coming in.
Sharing the video, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Ashraful Hussain tweeted, “Terror Force’ of fascist, communal & bigoted Govt. shooting at its own citizens.” He said the villagers had appealed against the eviction but the authorities did not wait for the eviction.
800 Muslim families were evicted from their homes yesterday by Assam govt
Weather has not been kind to them either – displaced women and children are struggling to save themselves from heavy rain.
I hope this suffering makes the regime more happy! pic.twitter.com/YkPlGd8kAv
— Aman Wadud (@AmanWadud) September 21, 2021
India demolish homes
After evicting over 5,000 people from 800 households, the Bengali-speaking Muslims are forced to live under the open sky. The Indian government’s move to demolish homes and force the poor to vacate the area has been criticised by human rights activists.
“There are no medical teams, no running water, no toilets… not even tarpaulin to cover them. This is completely inhumane,” Rejaul Karim, the president of All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU).
Ainuddin Ahmed, an advisor of AAMSU, told Indian media the people had been living for several decades and after the eviction have no option but to love under the open sky. “How can a democratically elected government be so inhumane and insensitive to the plight of such poor and landless people,” he asked.
He said the evicted person were Indian citizens and not “illegal migrants” from Bangladesh as claimed by the BJP leaders. “This is nothing but part of the hate Muslims policy of the BJP and communal politics against the religious minorities.”
Similar eviction drives have been carried out in many parts of Assam this year. Indian Muslims are living under constant fear of being reported as ‘illegal migrants” and rendered stateless in their own country.