The Gauhati high court has taken suo motu cognizance of the recent eviction drive at the greater Dhalpur area in Darrang district of Assam, which turned violent resulting in the death of two persons in police firing.
The suo motu case came for hearing on October 5. The HC gave the next date of hearing for the case on October 7.
The high court bench comprising Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia also accepted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Leader of the Opposition in state assembly, Debabrata Saikia, in connection with the eviction drive and clubbed it with the suo motu listed on October 7 for hearing.
Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia observed that the matter is very serious and important.
The chief justice asked the Assam advocate general to prepare a report with facts on what is happening at the area in Dhalpur till date. He also asked him to submit a reply apprising the court on the on-ground status at Dhalpur.
The advocate general set out two sets of notification – one was on setting up of a judicial enquiry and another of the AHRC.
The court took suo motu case based on a letter by Axom Nagarik Samaj which sought high court-monitored investigation of the firing incident as well as the eviction process.
“On September 23, a heavily armed team of Assam Police personnel was deployed by the Government of Assam at Gorukhuti, Dholpur, Sipajhar revenue circle in Darrang district to carry out eviction. The eviction resulted in strong protest from the people, who are reported to be settlers there for last several decades. In the ensuing melee, the police resorted to firing to quell and disperse the crowd and two people, including a 12-year-old boy, are reported to have died. Nine policemen were also injured. It is not very clear as to whether a magistrate on duty was present at the incident of police firing in Dhalpur,” the letter read.
It added: “A shocking video of the incident also has emerged where a cameraman, namely Bijay Shankar Bania hired by the Darrang district administration to document the situation, is seen to be repeatedly stomping over the body of Moinul Haque in an incredibly brutal way. This shows the extent to which hate campaigns against the supposedly illegal foreigners have spread even among the persons associated with government organization.”
“All the 800 families evicted in greater Dhalpur are staying in a makeshift camp and finding difficulty to manage their families with children and thus denied the right to life with dignity. They were not given adequate time thorough advance notice. There has not been any alternative and proper rehabilitation of the evicted people,” the letter added.