Guwahati, Sunday, July 21, 2019
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Protecting land can safeguard indigenous people’s interest: PVM
 GUWAHATI, July 20 - Prabrajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) convener and senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika, who has been working on the issue of illegal infiltration into Assam through India-Bangladesh border, today mentioned that the legal and constitutional safeguard to the Assamese people as envisaged by the Assam Accord would be incomplete unless it incorporates the provision for protecting the land.

“The only reason for which infiltration occurs is the hunger for land by the Bangladeshi migrants who have already encroached upon lakhs of bighas in middle and lower Assam. These people have further encroached upon four lakh hectares of forest land out of a total of 17 lakh hectares. As in the other northeastern states, the land has been reserved only for indigenous people, similar legal provisions should be made to safeguard the interest of the indigenous people of Assam,” he mentioned.

Hazarika further stated that employment and reservation in the Assembly and local body constituencies are not enough. Reservation in Assembly constituencies would benefit only the leader and not the common indigenous people, he added.

“If the land is reserved only for those whose names and the names of their forefathers are in the NRC of 1951, most of the encroachers will not get any rights over the land. On the other hand, if there is constituency reservation without land reservation, the encroachers will get permanent rights over the encroached land and will be a permanent vote bank for the local politician who can then choose to disregard the local indigenous population,” he said.

Hazarika stated that if the intent is to save the identity of the indigenous population from becoming a minority, there is no alternative but to reserve land, based on 1951 NRC.

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