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Eviction drive against Nagas in Karbi Anglong; Rio seeks Assam CM’s intervention

Borlengri Area Villagers’ Union team from Nagaland on Saturday.

Rio said that carrying out eviction drive against the Nagas of Karbi Anglong would be “unfair and unjust” and they would be rendered “homeless and landless”.

By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent

With the recent eviction drive carried out by the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) along the Assam-Nagaland Border, Dudu Colony, Lahorijan, Assam, Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, has requested his Assam counterpart, Himanta Biswa Sarma, to “intervene and protect” Nagas of Karbi Anglong, Assam, in keeping with social justice and spirit of good neighbourly relations between the two states.

Rio said that the Nagas living along the borders of Karbi Anglong, particularly Balijan ‘C’ Khan Basti have approached him regarding the “eviction notice” served to them by the KAAC and added that he understood that the Naga residents of Balijan ‘C’ Khan Basti had purchased the land from the descendants of Late Hazi Manigul Khan, who established the village in 1910, and have constructed permanent residential and commercial buildings as well as Churches on the land which is under their lawful possession for the last many decades.

He said majority of the residents are retired government employees who have invested their lifelong savings in constructing their buildings while they are also law-abiding citizens of KAAC, Assam, and many of whom were availing welfare schemes including ration and job cards, and electricity provided by the Government of Assam and their names being enrolled in the electoral roll of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Further, Rio said that carrying out eviction proceedings against the Nagas of Karbi Anglong would be “unfair and unjust” and they would be rendered “homeless and landless” which would not only leave them in great hardship and mental trauma but may also result in “unrest and law and order problems”.

Meanwhile, the Borlengri Area Villagers’ Union (BAVU) Chairman, Meren Ao, and Secretary, Mhao Odyuo, on January 6 on behalf of the Nagas residing in the eleven villages-Mon Basti, Chotu Lengri, Borlengri Block I & II, Lotha Basti, Rengma Gaon, Wophong Taro Basti, Lama Basti, Manipuri Basti, Longi Tea Estate and Balijan, had queried to the KAAC on a recent news item “KAAC to conduct eviction drive at Khan Basti”.

They stated that the union was aware of the recently carried out eviction drive at Dudu Colony, bordering to Nagaland by the authorities concerned but the article denoting 1000 Bighas for establishing “commando training centre” near inter-state bordering with Nagaland have confused the Naga residents as many Nagas dominating the mentioned villages have not encroached on any Assam government land but on contrary, they have purchased their land from the Karbis and other communities.

Expressing dismay over the land policy of KAAC as the Nagas are also indigenous tribe and have every right to settle anywhere, BAVU said the KAAC has deprived the Nagas’ rights and disapproved mutation on the land patta for the last many years.

In this regard, BAVU had appealed the KAAC to exempt the Nagas living in border areas of Nagaland from the ongoing eviction drive to avoid further conflicts between the two “peaceful” co-existing communities.

On Friday (Jan 7), BAVU had also written a representation to the Chief Executive Member (CEM), KAAC, Diphu Karbi Anglong, Assam, stating that the KAAC authority had served eviction notice to Dudo Colony, and Balijan Basti in the month of November 2021 whereby eviction drive has already been carried out which had affected the livelihood of the many permanent settlers.

BAVU said that a memorandum in this connection has already been submitted to the Deputy Speaker, Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA) on December 10, 2021, to reconsider and to redress the issue to avoid any untoward incidents at the Border belt.

In the memo, BAVU stated that earmarking about 1000 Bighas for establishing “commando training centre” near inter-state bordering Nagaland has created “fear psychosis” amongst the settlers particularly the Naga inhabited/dominated villages which is “indisputably” very much part of Karbi Anglong and the indigenous Naga tribes who have already settled within the border belt are own people now enjoying every right that the Assam government was availing including right to Franchise.

Earlier, the Borlengri Area Villagers’ Union (BAVU) has also written a letter to Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, appraising on the eviction drive (s) carried out by the KAAC on the inter-state border belt adversely affecting the indigenous Naga community residing there.

In this regard BAVU had appealed the Nagaland Chief Minister, Rio to appraise the serious matter to his Assam counterpart to intervene in order to avoid any future distortion of peace and harmony in the border area where the residents are maintaining peace to this present day and to spare the already settled areas from eviction in the name of developmental works.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that on Saturday, a three member team from Nagaland comprising of BAVU Chairman, Meren Ao, Vice-chairman, Khehito, and Secretary, Mhao Odyuo, visited Diphu to meet Chief Executive Member (CEM), KAAC, Tuliram Ronghang, but could not meet as he was out of station. However, the three member team while returning to Dimapur met the MLA from 17 Bokajan, and Deputy Speaker, Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA), Dr Numal Momin, who advised the visiting team not to panic and assured for full cooperation to look into the current issue.

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