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Assam govt not to talk to anti-eviction protestors

By K Anurag
June 23, 2011 17:36 IST

In the wake of Wednesday's showdown on the streets between its police and violent protestors near the Assam capital complex at Dispur in Guwahati that left three dead and scores injured, the state government on Thursday made it clear that it was not going to talk with those who were leading the agitation affirming its tough posture against violence in the name of agitation.

Referring to the agitation led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity against administration's drive to evict illegal settlers on forest land, wetlands, hills around Guwahati city, Assam government spokesperson Dr Himanta Bishwa Sharma and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain on Friday said, "It has been decided that the government is not going to have discussion with any professional agitationists (KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi)."

A high-level committee is being constituted with the senior most MLA of ruling Congress Dr Bhumidhar Barman as the chairman. Four MLAs from greater Guwahati area as well as three representatives from the civil society will be members of the committee that will review government's land settlement policy in respect of hills in and around Guwahati.

"The committee will review eligibility for grant of land settlement on the basis of economic and other status of the dwellers and submit its report within 30 days. Till then there will be no further eviction of illegal settlers on hills," the government spokesperson said.

The committee will talk only to respective local development committees while making the study not with leaders of the KMSS leading the agitation.

"There will, however, be no compromise on evicting settlers from wetlands in and around Guwahati as these are natural water reservoirs vital to the survival of the city. There is law provision to send an illegal occupant on wetlands behind the bars for three years," he added.

The government has also constituted an inquiry committee to be headed by Additional Chief Secretary Surajit Mitra to inquire into Wednesday's violence on the street involving agitationists and policemen to fix responsibilities.

Government spokesperson Dr Sharma said it was hardly understandable why the district civil and police administration did gave permission for holding the demonstration led by the KMSS whose leader Akhil Gogoi had earlier stated that he would convert Assam to another Libya in case Congress comes back to power again.

"Everything will be found out and you will see lots of action within next few days," he said.

K Anurag in Guwahati