BHRPC denounces firing on demonstration in Guwahati

Barak human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) condemns police firing on the peaceful demonstration of landless settlers in various forest areas on the periphery of the city of Guwahati on 22 June, 2011. The killing of nine year old child Ruhul Amin is a brutal act of violation of fundamental right to life alongwith two other protestors without any rhyme or reason. The apparent scenes of violence and damage of public property by the agitators soon after the unprovoked lathi-charge on women, infirm and children protestors only demonstrates the anguish of the protestors. The circumstances and situation of stone pelting, car burning, lathi-charge, tear gas shots and causing bullet injuries on protestors needs to be investigated in an impartial manner. Any attempt to call the peaceful protest as ‘unruly’ and ‘violent’ undermines the democratic rights of forest dwellers to make them heard in the Government.

BHRPC denounces the attempt of the government of Assam in evicting people from forest land as Forest Rights Act, 2008 does not allow such an eviction drive. Going by the said act, right to live in forest land by the forest dwellers is an inalienable right. The plan of the Assam government to hand over the forest land after eviction to a set of police and guards makes a mockery of the Forest rights act. The plan of the forest minister to settle Forest Protection Guards and Police in forest land , as reported in a section of the Press, is, least to say, an open violation of the rights of the indigenous people and forest dwellers.  The project of plantation by eviction shows thorough mindless and careless policy of pleasing multinationals who now invest privately in forest land.

BHRPC believes the pronouncements of the forest minister to the press are to create a larger sore in the already injured and the killed masses of protestors, which, the least to say, is inhuman. This is also a form of structural violence on the landless forest dwellers and on their legal rights. BHRPC, therefore, demands adequate compensation to the already damaged properties of the landless people living in the Lalmati area of Guwahati and demands penal action on the errant police authorities who resorted to firing. BHRPC strongly believes that the incident of firing and killing could have been avoided if timely intervention could have been made by the Government, who chose to ignore the voice of the landless and the poor. BHRPC also expresses solidarity and concern with the democratic movement of the landless. BHRPC demands adequate medical care for all the injured protestors as well as for the police personnel. BHRPC further demands that the deceased be given adequate compensation on humanitarian grounds. Any delay and inaction due to bureaucratic indifference on these aspects of human disaster would only vitiate the social and political environment of the state. BHRPC only hopes that the Government accepts its moral responsibility for the entire calamity and chalks out appropriate measures to grant the landless pattas on forest land.

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