Assam: 246 families evicted in anti-encroachment drive at forest in Goalpara
Goalpara, Nov 7 (PTI) A total of 246 families were evicted from the Nalbari Reserve Forest in Assam's Goalpara district as the anti-encroachment drive concluded on Tuesday, an official said.
The eviction drive began on Monday and was supposed to continue till Wednesday, but ended a day early as all the 246 families living on forest land illegally were evicted, he said.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Goalpara Tejas Mariswamy said the families were served notice to vacate the land, and most had left before the eviction teams arrived.
The drive was led by the Forest Department with the assistance of the civil and police administrations, he said.
'We thank all agencies for their cooperation,' he added.
At the end of the first day's drive on Monday, the officer had said that in areas with permanent structures, excavators were used for demolition, dismissing the possibility of relocating the people as they were 'encroachers' on forest land.
About 100 hectare of land was cleared during this exercise. A similar drive was carried out in the area on July 17, in which 15 families were evicted, another official said.
After coming to power in May 2021, the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government has been carrying out such eviction drives across the state, which often led to clashes between security personnel and people living there for years. Thousands of people, mostly Bengali-speaking Muslims, have been displaced so far due to these drives.
In September 2021, two persons were killed in police firing during an eviction drive in Gorukhuti area in Darrang district, according to officials.
In one of the largest eviction drives, 2,099 hectare of the Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary in Sonitpur district was cleared in February, affecting about 12,800 people.
In another eviction drive in the same area, one person was killed and three forest guards injured in July.
Dismissing the opposition's criticism, CM Sarma has maintained that the eviction drive to clear government and forest land would continue as long as the BJP is in power in the state. PTI SSG CORR SSG SOM
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