GUWAHATI, Sept 19 - Two persons were killed and 19 others, including police personnel, were injured in mob violence and subsequent police firing during an eviction drive near Kaziranga National Park today.
Police resorted to firing in the Bandardubi area under Kaliabor subdivision of Nagaon district after protesters, demanding compensation before they were evicted, turned violent and attacked security forces by pelting stones at them, Assam Director General of Police Mukesh Sahay said.
�The eviction was carried out as per orders of the Gauhati High Court and the police used full restraint and minimum force to ensure that the land was cleared of encroachers,� he said.
The situation turned violent and the police was forced to resort to lathi-charge, use tear gas and firing which led to the killing of two persons, including a woman, and injury to 19 others, including 15 police personnel, due to stone pelting, the DGP said.
Following the incident, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal held an emergency Cabinet meeting and directed that an ex gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh be paid to the next of kin of those dead and Rs 50,000 each to those injured.
The Nagaon district administration had decided to carry out the eviction following a Gauhati High Court order in October last year that Bandardubi and Deosurchang areas under Kaliabor subdivision near Kaziranga National Park be cleared of encroachers.
The Chief Minister had directed Minister for Education and Health Himanta Biswa Sarma and Minister for Water Resources, Science and Technology and also the local MLA Keshab Mahanta to meet the representatives of the two areas before carrying out the eviction drive.
Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma complimented the Nagaon district administration for their successful eviction drive in Kaziranga. �Our government will never compromise on jati (identity), mati (land) and bheti (home). I also assure all deserving land owners that adequate compensation will be paid to all of them,� he said.
Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, however, told reporters that removing people from their land and home by resorting to killings was �condemnable�. �Agreed that the Gauhati High Court had given the ruling last year, but there was a process to ensure its adherence,� he said, adding, it was the Asom Gana Parishad government in 1996, which had facilitated the settlement of these people in these two areas, he said.
AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal also condemned the police firing and killing of two persons who, he said, had only sought compensation before eviction. He demanded action against the police and adequate compensation to the victims.
The two persons killed in the firing have been identified as Anjuma Khatun and Fakhruddin. The situation in the area remains tense, but is under control. There was no report of any untoward incident in the Deosurchang area.
The authorities had pressed elephants and excavators into service to demolish the houses. A total of 190 and 160 families were evicted in Bandardubi and Deosurchang areas respectively. � PTI