Northeast Diary: How important is Assam's new policy regarding tribal lands?

Assam will debut a new land plan on October 2, which will enable tribal groups to hold up to 50 bighas of land from the existing ceiling of eight bighas . The state has been fighting encroachment of land in the past, with the state government evicting illegal immigrants from 77,420 bighas of land in northern Assams Darrang district .

Assam will debut a new land plan on October 2, which will enable tribal groups to hold up to 50 bighas of land from the existing ceiling of eight bighas.The step is extremely important in a state where vast swaths of land have been encroached upon by alleged illegal migrants, the primary reason being that it sparked a clash in Darrang districts Dhalpur-Garukhuti last year that killed two people.Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said earlier this week that this is in accordance with our budget plan to guarantee the rights of tribal people over their hereditary land.To see if tribal people can be incorporated into village gazing grounds, the government will meet with tribal organizations.

The state's biggest issue has been the encroachment of land.In 2017, an Assam government-organized commission concluded that 63 lakh bighas (20.83 lakh acres) of government land, including forest land, grazing ground, and others, had been occupied by encroachers throughout the state.Former chief election commissioner of India (CEC) Hari Shankar Brahma had submitted the report to then-chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, proposing measures to ensure the state's indigenous rights are respected.Last October, the state government ordered a strike to expel illegal immigrants from 77,420 bighas of land in northern Assams Darrang district.

A large band of encroachers, many of whom were suspected to be illegal Bangladeshi migrants, allegedly assaulted the police force involved in the drive at Dhalpur-Garukhuti.The Assamese Muslim population in the region as well as civil society organisations have long explained the danger of encroachment.The incident sparked a lot of outrage because of the macabre and the most outrageous conduct of a photographer who was seen leaping near the body of a man who died in the clashes with police.People with vested interests hijacked the true situation by destabilizing facts and blaming civil society organizations and local media outlets as anti-Muslim.

Further research should be made on involving indigenous unemployed youth in areas that are susceptible to encroachment.The CAA cauldron The North East Students Union (NESO), the apex body of various student organizations, held a three-hour rally in all state capitals of the region on August 17, calling for the repeal of the notorious Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA among other issues.After the Covid precaution dose vaccination campaign, Union home minister Amit Shah announced recently that rules on how to implement the CAA would be adopted.Persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are eligible for citizenship under the CAA because they had come to India by December 31, 2014.

Since its adoption in December 2019, civil society organisations and student clubs have been protesting in the Northeast, fearing that it would result in a demographic imbalance in the region.They have cited Tripura's example, in which the indigenous population has been reduced to a minority as a result of the arrival of Bangladeshi Hindu migrants.Despite such demonstrations, the BJP-led Centre is unlikely to repeal the bill due to its political and ideological motivations.It would certainly not want to ruffle the feathers of influential local groups by including migrants in the region that is already bursting at the seams.

Suvendu Adhikari, a West Bengal BJP leader, recently urged Amit Shah to implement the bill soon, which would, according to him, benefit the people in his district.Of course, this would mean that the BJP would enter a fresh war with Mamata Banerjees Trinamool Congress, which is vehemently opposed to the CAA.Regardless of the situation, the Northeast should not be used as a dumping ground for migrants, according to the local people.