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Stir over Assam woman's death after police action, administration denies charge

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The Times Of India
15th March, 2019 11:22 IST
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GUWAHATI: Protests have broken out over the death of a pregnant woman who was reportedly injured due to police action during an eviction drive carried out in the revenue areas of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) recently.

The Karbi Anglong district administration, along with KAAC, had carried out the eviction drive to remove "illegal settlers" along the Karbi Anglong-Hojai inter-district border on March 2, 4 and 8. Eyewitnesses said the pregnant woman, who later delivered a baby, was injured in the police action during the eviction drive. She was taken to a local hospital in Hojai district , but was later referred to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). The woman died on Monday, leading to widespread protests.

Even as the Karbi Anglong district administration has refuted the charges, several intellectuals and political activists took out a protest march in Guwahati on Wednesday, blaming the BJP-led government of evicting peasants from the minority community without making any alternate arrangements for them. As more and more posts on the issue poured in on social media, protests began to escalate. A protest march was taken out under the aegis of CPM here on Wednesday, during which activists demanded adequate compensation for the evicted people whose houses were razed down.

"This is a barbaric action by the government that is aimed at creating communal tension in the round up to the Lok Sabha election. Without making alternate arrangements, how can the police and administration can carry out such an inhuman drive where even the pregnant woman was not spared?" questioned critic and author Hafiz Ahmed, who heads the Char-Chapori Sahitya Parishad, a leading organization fighting for the rights of minorities. The Charkebasti area, which was badly ravaged by the eviction drive, used to produce turmeric and ginger of great quality, which were also being exported outside the state.

Leader of the opposition at state assembly, Debabrata Saikia said the Assam Human Rights Commission should register a suo motu case and initiate a probe into the matter. "It's shocking that a pregnant woman has lost her life during the eviction drive. In a civilized society, it's a most unfortunate incident," said Saikia.

However, the Karbi Anglong district administration, in a report sent to the state government, has denied that the cause of death of the pregnant woman was the eviction drive that was carried out as per the directive of KAAC authority. Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner Mukul Kumar Saikia said,"Situation report said that when eviction drive was carried out in the area on March 2, 4 and 8, no such incident of attacking a pregnant woman took place."

Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in a recent meeting had slammed pro-minority organizations for criticizing the BJP-led government in Assam for carrying out eviction drives in the protected areas of the state. Illegal Bangladeshi migrants are on the rise in these areas, he had said.

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