Days after a number of families were evicted from “encroached land’ in three districts of Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday urged the minority community to adopt a decent family planning policy for population control to reduce poverty. All stakeholders in the community must come forward and support the government in helping reduce poverty in the community which is primarily due to an unabated increase in population, Sarma said on the occasion of the completion of 30 days of his government.
According to the 2011 Census, Muslims comprise 34.22 per cent of Assam’s total population of 3.12 crore and they are in majority in several districts. While Christians form 3.74 per cent of the total number of people in the state, the percentage of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains is much less than one per cent. Referring to the recent evictions from areas allegedly encroached by members of the minority community in three districts of the state, he said that the government cannot allow land encroachment in temples, ‘sattras’ (Vaishanavite institutions), forests or any other place with which sentiments of people are associated.
Land encroachment takes place when the living space shrinks with an increase in population, Sarma said. Instead of “criticising us for taking steps to free encroached land, various stakeholders and leaders of the community must do an introspection”, he said.
Congress MP of Barpeta, Abdul Khaleque, on Wednesday tweeted that he urged Gauhati High Court Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia to take suo motu cognizance of the eviction drive, claiming that it was done in violation of a court order which said that any decree for eviction/dispossession or demolition should remain in abeyance considering the pandemic. The chief minister said that his government is not against any community and is there for all people of the state.