Express News Service
GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has directed the Assam government to file a detailed affidavit on the September 23 eviction drive in Darrang during which two persons were killed in police firing.
Hearing two public interest litigations – one filed by the leader of Opposition, Debabrata Saikia of the Congress and another by the court taking suo motu cognisance of the incident, a division bench of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia said it was unfortunate that blood spilled on the ground.
“It is a tragedy. Lives were lost. Khun jameen par gir gaya (blood spilled on the ground),” the Chief Justice observed.
Earlier, a viral video showed a photographer, engaged by the Darrang administration, stomping on an injured. The incident had triggered a country-wide outrage.
Asking the State if it believes the National Rehabilitation Policy is not applicable in Assam, the bench directed the government to file a detailed affidavit within three weeks.
In his petition, Saikia had stated that the people evicted were from marginalised and socio-economically disadvantaged sections, and they were compelled to migrate due to the state’s perennial problems of floods and erosion.
His counsel advocate Chander Uday Singh expressed surprise when the Advocate General said the names of 60% of the people evicted were not on the list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Singh contested the AG’s claim, pointing out that the NRC list has not been published by the government yet.
Meanwhile, the Congress hailed the court’s decision and action. “The incident of firing a lone protestor by more than 40 armed policemen and the subsequent violent action of a government-affiliated cameraman on the dead protestor shocked people all over the world,” Pradesh Congress’ media department chairperson Bobbeeta Sharma said.
The Congress appreciated the court for seeking a detailed affidavit from the government and questioning it if the National Rehabilitation Policy was applicable in Assam or not.
“The Congress contends that such incidents should never be a part of a civilized society. The party recognises and reposes its full faith in the judiciary and considers it the greatest strength in a democratic country,” Sharma added.