JIH condemns police firing, Dholpur eviction in Assam

Police officers at the site of the eviction drive in Darrang in Assam on Tuesday. | Himanta Biswa Sarma via Twitter.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) demanded immediate rehabilitation to the homeless as mandated by the Supreme Court of India. 

NEW DELHI –  Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) Vice President Prof Salim Engineer has condemned the police firing and Dholpur Eviction in Assam and demanded immediate rehabilitation to the homeless as mandated by the Supreme Court of India.

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In a statement, the JIH Vice President said, “We condemn the police firing and the eviction carried out in Assam’s Dholpur by the Siphajhar District administration. More than 900 families have been evicted mercilessly with utter disregard to all legal norms and international humanitarian obligations. The evicted urgently need food, shelter and legal assistance. The police firing on the homeless protestors resulted in the death of two and many seriously injured. The state government of Assam must take full responsibility for this and ensure that justice is delivered to the victims by punishing the concerned officials and police officers behind such a cruel attack. We hope that the report of the judicial enquiry is made public as soon as possible. We demand compensation of Rs.one Crore each to the families of the two deceased and Rs. 50 lakh each to the seriously injured.”

Prof Salim Engineer said, “Ever since the BJP has come to power in Assam, it has started eviction of thousands of people in areas dominated by those from the minority community. Around 3 months back, 300 families were evicted in the Dhuburi district. Two years back, around 445 families were evicted from Chotea area of Biswanath district who are still homeless. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind wishes to point out that the Human Rights – Fact Sheet 21 document issued by UN-Habitat; Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has recognized the right to adequate housing contains freedoms. These freedoms include: (1) Protection against forced evictions and the arbitrary destruction and demolition of one’s home; (2) The right to be free from arbitrary interference with one’s home, privacy and family; and (3) The right to choose one’s residence, to determine where to live and to freedom of movement. India has ratified this international law guaranteeing housing as a basic human right. The Supreme Court of India, in several judgements, has also held that the human right to adequate housing is a fundamental right emanating from the right to life protected by Article 21 of the Constitution of India. However, the BJP government in Assam does not seem to care about this legal and moral obligation. It is accusing the poor and homeless as “encroachers” and “illegal residents” that can be dispensed like criminals in a bid to demonstrate development and progress. These evictions go against the basic tenets of our Constitution and must be rolled back and instead steps should be taken to rehabilitate them suitably at the earliest”.