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Assam: Rehabilitation of 12,000 displaced Muslim families begins

September 07, 2012 12:09 IST
The Assam government and the authorities in the Bodoland Territorial Council have started the process of rehabilitation of violence-displaced Muslims in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts areas after proper verification of land ownership documents to ensure that only genuine Indian citizens (not suspected illegal migrants from Bangladesh) can be rehabilitated from relief camps where they are now sheltered.

A crucial meeting on the sensitive issue of rehabilitating violence-displaced religious minorities in the BTAD areas in Assam on Friday decided to start the process of rehabilitation of 12,000 displaced families whose land documents have already been verified and found genuine.

The meeting of Group of Ministers from the Assam government, BTC executive members and representatives of administration in the BTC decided to rehabilitate Muslims families having valid patta (land ownership document) in the first phase within a month. The GoM is led by Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Prithivi Majhi. 

The identification of the villages of these families would be done by the officers and after completion of this identification process they would be rehabilitated within the next 15 to 30 days, according to official sources. 

The BTC authorities had distributed 23,401 forms in Kokrajhar district to verify the land-holding status of violence-affected families. They have verified 18,159 forms so far and found 8,425 families as patta holders. Around 1,077 families have been found to be landless in the district and 5,242 forms are yet to be verified in this connection from the Kokrajhar district. 

In Chirang district, 8,282 forms have been verified and 2,641 violence-hit families have been found to be having land ownership documents, while 5,641 families have been found to be landless. 

In case of those who have no land ownership documents, other documents would be examined to determine their places of origin by the government and the BTC officials. The list of the documents, which will be required for the purpose, would be prepared and circulated among the displaced families for submission of relevant documents. About 13,000 such families will be subjected to verification in this phase.

The verification was required after BTC authorities had set conditions for rehabilitation of those who were affected by the ethnic violence that started on July 19, as it apprehended that relief camps were swarmed with illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
So, for the rehabilitation of violence-hit Muslims, the BTC authority suggested that only those with either valid land documents or whose names were listed in the voters' list should be rehabilitated in the BTC area.
K Anurag in Guwahati