Assam CM claims PFI hand in eviction violence, demands ban on outfit

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday claimed that the Popular Front of India (PFI) was involved in the violence in Darrang district during an eviction drive, stating that some people had collected Rs 28 lakh from the encroacher families assuring them that they would convince the government against eviction.

Two persons, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed and 20 others were injured after a mob clashed with the police during an eviction drive in Assam’s Darrang district on Thursday.

The Chief Minister said that the state government has prepared a dossier on PFI and sent it to the Centre seeking a total ban on the outfit.

“There are detailed intelligence reports that six people, including a college teacher, had collected Rs 28 lakh in the past three months from the landless families, assuring them that they would convince the government not to undertake the eviction drive,” Sarma told the media after attending a function here.

“From where did around 10,000 people, armed with sticks and spears, gather and attack the policemen,” the Chief Minister asked, adding that when these people failed to prevent the eviction drive, they assembled people and created havoc on Thursday.

“We have sufficient details about the PFI and other conspirators and when the judicial inquiry begins, more facts and evidence would emerge,” he said.

Sarma said that he had earlier promised to the All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) that all the landless households would be provided six bighas of land.

“The affected poor people were not given any land or compensation. Those evicted are now staying in makeshift structures sans drinking water or sanitation facilities,” AAMSU President Rejaul Karim Sarkar told the media.

Those killed in Thursday’s violence included a 12-year old boy named Shaikh Farid who was returning home after obtaining his Aadhaar card from the post office, and 28-year-old Moinul Haque, who was seen in a viral video, shot dead by the police.

In the viral video, a photographer, hired by the Darrang district administration to record the eviction drive, was seen stomping on the body of Haque. The photographer was subsequently arrested.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the All India United Democratic Front on Saturday met Assam Governor Jagadish Mukhi and demanded compensation of Rs 20 lakh for the families of those killed and Rs 10 lakh for those injured in the firing during the eviction drive.

The AIUDF also demanded six bighas of land for the evicted families for farming purpose, and one bigha for constructing houses.

The eviction drive was launched by the police and the district administration to vacate 4,500 bighas (602.40 hectares) of government land illegally encroached by several hundreds of Bengali-speaking Muslim families in Darrang.