Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said that about 1000 persons voluntarily vacated the area before the eviction drive started.
A two-day eviction drive was started inside the Lumding Reserve Forest in Assam’s Hojai district on Monday. The eviction drive was undertaken by the state government.
Officials informed that the drive was in compliance with the Gauhati High Court’s orders. Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said that about 1000 persons voluntarily vacated the area before the eviction drive started.
The drive comes barely after two months since violence erupted in Sipajhar in the state’s Darrang dstrict, after a similar drive was conducted.
At least two people including a minor were killed and injuries were sustained by policemen after “controlled firing” from the police, in response to the actions of the mob who pelted stones and produced machetes to attack the eviction party.
Hojai Deputy Commissioner, Anupam Choudhury informed that the drive was peaceful as most of the people had already vacated, heeding council from the district administration about the HC order to make the forest encroachment-free.
Around 1000 police and CRPF personnel were deployed by the state government to carry out the drive. The government will reportedly clear about 500 hectares of the 1410 encroached land of the reserve forest during the two-day drive.
CM Sarma said, “The government is committed to follow the order and will do so through dialogue and not by force”, adding, “Eviction drive has been carried out peacefully in Lumding forest. Everyone have been sent home. The forest is free of encroachment from today”.