520 ‘land brokers’ arrested in Assam in 24 hours

In a bid to wipe out corruption, the Assam Police, in simultaneous raids across the state, arrested 520 “land brokers” during the past 24 hours, officials said on Tuesday.

A police spokesman said that the highest number of 52 land brokers were arrested in Kamrup district followed by 41 in Barpeta, 35 in Assam’s main city of Guwahati, 33 in Biswanath,31 in Nalbari and 26 in Hojai district.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted: “Continuing raids by Assam Police is our concerted pledge to end ‘Dalal Raj’. This notorious practice of brokers and dalals in revenue offices harassing commoners must end. Our fight against nefarious activities will go on relentlessly.”

Talking to the media earlier, he urged the people not to give money to the middlemen to get official work done.

“I have also asked government employees from top to bottom to not give any access to the middlemen to the government offices. We want to eliminate the system of ‘Dalal Raj’ or middlemen. If such menace existed in the administration then Assam can never make any development,” he said.

Sarma said that over 750 land brokers and middlemen were identified across Assam and the police already arrested the majority of them and the remaining would be caught soon.

At a recent state-level conference of circle officers, he had directed the officials to remove the practice of middlemen to enable people to get their land-related work done without any hassles.

Assam’s Special Director General of Police, G.P. Singh tweeted: “In line with directions of the Chief Minister the teams of Assam police have arrested more than 450 persons last night indulging in unlawful activities involving land sale, purchase and holding.”

“The action shall continue. We strive to identify the black sheep amongst Government personnel involved along with ascertaining unlawful backward and forward linkages of the persons arrested and take further action thereafter,” he added.

The drive against middlemen comes amid the Assam government’s fight against drugs and human trafficking.