Stop Eviction and Constitute Judicial Enquiry into the 22nd June Police Killings in Assam sign now

Tarun Gogoi
The Chief Minister
Government of Assam
Dispur, Assam

We are appalled and angry because of the fact that on the 22nd June 2011, at around noon, the Assam police opened fire and killed four people, during a demonstration led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS). You must be aware that the protesters were demanding a halt to a massive ongoing eviction drive for more than a week around the hills in the city of Guwahati. It should be noted that different tribal communities and labouring poor of the city have been living on these hills for over many decades and many of them are clearly entitled to pieces of land based on the Forest Rights Act and other provisions of law. KMSS has been demanding a thorough survey to be undertaken by concerned Government agencies, of not just hills but of the entire city and notify all lands according to law, and also hold mass consultations and public hearings before any evictions are undertaken by the State agencies.

However, your government has ignored all legal rules and procedures and over the last few days the city has witnessed an unprecedented emergency like situation with thousands of people being rendered homeless due to the frenzied eviction drive.

It is worth mentioning here that in recent times the hills of the city have become sites for huge land-grabbing by construction lobby and their Mafia associates. There are enough indications to suggest that the recent eviction drive was perhaps meant to clear the land of the poor so that it can be handed over to these Mafiosi. It is very clear that talks about illegal encroachment of land by the labouring poor in the hills and its effect on ecology is nothing but a sham.

Rather than addressing the demands of adhering to proper regulations, procedures and the rights of the people; on 22nd June when more than 10,000 people gathered near the State Secretariat to press for their demands, the Deputy Commissioner refused to meet the protestors. Soon the police started lobbing Tear-Gas shells and resorted to a baton charge. In the milieu, many people got injured and started running for cover. Police then resorted to firing which killed four people, including one minor. More than 50 people were seriously injured.

This unprovoked aggression, agitated a section of the protesters who retaliated by pelting stones, and grabbing what-so-ever they could lay their hands on, including twigs and branches of tree. And in the ensuing scuffle some policemen were also injured and hospitalized; a few Government vehicles were also set on fire.

And what did your government do? It went on a witch-hunt. Shamelessly, you, the Chief Minister-cum-Home Minister of Assam, went on to give a George Bush kind of dictum on news channels; you said Whoever stands with Akhil Gogoi and KMSS have invited their own death .

On 24th June the Assam police arrested Akhil Gogoi, the general secretary of KMSS for inciting riot, arsoning, culpable homicide etc. We are apprehensive that in the coming days more and more people are going to be arrested, and if one goes by the good records of Assam Police, there are high possibilities that the detainees will be tortured.

We Demand:

1.Land grabbing by the State should be stopped immediately, and poor and tribal inhabitants of Guwahati be given legal title to the land for homestead.

2.A judicial enquiry into the police firing which resulted in the death of four protesters..

3.Immediate action against the concerned police officials who approved the decision to fire upon the protesters.

4.Ensure the safety of the KMSS leadership which has been sent to the police custody by the court of chief judicial magistrate, metropolitan ghy on 24th june 2011.

5.An unconditional apology by your government to people of India.


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Bertie MayBy:
Nature and EnvironmentIn:
Petition target:
Chief Minister, Government of Assam

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