As PM Modi speaks at the UN about global terrorism back home, the police clashed with a mob in Assam's Darrang district during an eviction drive on Thursday. In this incident, 2 persons were killed, and 20 were injured, out of which 9 were policemen.
This incident triggered widespread condemnation of the BJP led government in Assam. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called the police action a "state-sponsored fire". Further adding, he said, "I stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the state - no children of India deserve this".
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the police were forced to take action as the mob of several hundred people protesting the eviction drive attacked the security personnel with sticks, machetes, and spears. Sarma, who also holds the Home Department, said the eviction drive, which had started on Monday, would continue on Friday.
According to officials, around 800 families of Bengali-speaking Muslims were unlawfully occupying about 4,500 bighas (602.40 hectares) of government land for many years. The government has recently decided to use the land for agricultural purposes by removing the settlers.
The land where the eviction drive was being conducted, was predominantly inhabited by Bengali-speaking Muslim population. Many MLA's and opposition leaders demanded that the eviction drive be stopped till the people were provided with alternate housing.
On Thursday morning, there was a protest led by the residents and the activists, after which the administration reportedly “promised that the villagers will be rehabilitated before the eviction”. But when the activists left the area, the police opened fire on the protestors, according to the reports.
State Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah, condemning the "barbaric act" of police firing, said: "The very act of eviction is itself inhuman, especially during the Covid situation. The Supreme Court had also given a directive against eviction during the pandemic, yet the Assam government has remained adamant behaving in an autocratic manner to evict the residents who have been living in the area since the 1970s."
Akhil Gogoi's party, Raijor Dal, too slammed the government for the “inhuman crackdown” to further the “Hindutva agenda” of the government.
Kavita Krishnan, CPI-ML Politburo member, shared a video of the incident and tweeted:
The video of a cameraman stomping the body of a man shot by the police went viral and received a lot of criticism. On Twitter, #ArrestBijoyBania was a trending hashtag. Later, the cameraman was arrested, and a case has been registered with the CID.