GUWAHATI, Oct 28 – Alleging that the State Government has failed to protect the interests of the people living on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, the locals of the area complained that the State is losing its land due to Arunachal's aggression.
Arunachal Agrasan Pratirodh Samity, a forum to protest the alleged land-grabbing by the neighbouring State, today said that the Behali reserve forest and Singalijan reserve forest under Sonitpur district are facing encroachment by the people of the neighbouring State since formation of Arunachal Pradesh as a new State in 1971.
“The people of Arunachal Pradesh have been establishing their villages in Behali forest area. Since the Assam government did not pay any attention to this problem, many areas like Pampela, Bormai, Tarasu, Bogijuli, Dikal, Radhasu have been occupied by the people of Arunachal,” said Bibek Das, advisor of the committee.
“According to the government data, 1,400 hectares of the State’s land are under the occupation of Arunachal Pradesh. But, in reality more than 3,000 hectares of land have been annexed by the people of the neighbouring State.” he mentioned.
Giving a chronology of events that strongly indicates Arunachal’s invasion on Assam's land, like establishing LP schools, forest offices, churches, electricity arrangements, construction of roads, etc., in the Assam’s part of Behali forest area, the committee said that the Arunachal government is violating all the clauses of the Forest Act.
Due to the weak stand of the Assam government on the issue, seven elephants had been electrocuted in the forest area by the 11,000-voltage electricity cables that pass through both the forest areas.
“On the other hand, the Assam government has always been taking a stand against its own people. To protest Arunachal’s aggression, the people of Assam living in the bordering areas established two villages on the border namely Naharjan and Kajiyamati. But unfortunately, the Assam government carried out an eviction drive in both the villages and set the houses on fire.
“In 2008 also, some of the Assamese people tried to capture some parts of the Behali forest area. But, in the name of preserving the forest, the people were arrested and sent to jail. A farmer of Assam was also killed in police firing. We don't want to destroy the forest area, but at the same time establishing a human wall is necessary to check Arunachal's invasion. Otherwise the State would lose both its land and forests,” Das said.
“When Assam’s Chief Minister is saying that ‘one who can occupy the land is the owner’, we are afraid that the government would give away its land to the neighbouring State,” he added.