GUWAHATI, July 13 � Altogether 5,548 bighas of land belonging to 26 sattra institutions of the State are under �occupation of the illegal settlers,� said an investigative report prepared by the Sattra Study committee of the Northeast Policy Institute (NPI), which was released at a function here today.
However, the report made it clear that the Asom Sattra Mahasabha, the apex body of the State�s Sattra institutions, has found around 7,000 bighas of land belonging to 32 Sattra institutions are under the illegal occupation of �illegal Muslim settlers originating from Bangladesh.� It has taken help of report published in a vernacular daily in this respect.
The NPI said in its report that its team had found much of these illegal settlers belonging to the Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh. The Sattras named by the NPI report affected by this phenomenon of encroachment include Ramrai Kuthi (11 bighas), Simolabari (195), Barpeta (460), Kaaljar (136), Haripur (48), Patbausi (81), Bhabanipur (117), Bohori (190), Jonia (160), Dhupordhol (182), Kobaikota (46), Patekibori (Alipukhuri) (77), Bordowa (283), Balisatra (462), Rampur (584), Salaguri (Dhing) (4), Adi Elengi (1900), Bor Elengi (105), Khatpur (Naoboisa) (48), Sipoha (34), Nikamul (10), Bapupura (110), Damodar (46), Bishnupur (161), Somoria (50) and Malancha (48).
Releasing the report, former Director General of the National Museum Dr Rabin Dev Choudhury said that encroachment has resulted in pitiable condition of the smaller Sattra institutions. The situation has come to such a pass that even the villagers who were followers of the Kobaikota Sattra the birth place of Damodardev had to flee their village and only the prayer hall of the Sattra could now be saved through administrative interference. Even the tank � called Mahdhowa Pukhuri � of the Sattra is also under encroachment and used for the benefit of a mosque and a madrassa school.
Virtually the entire landed property of the Adi Elengi Sattra is now under the encroachment of the illegal migrants. Even the Pabhoi reserved forest located in its vicinity, has now been totally eliminated by these people, said Dr Choudhury.
Without saving the Sattra institutions, the Assamese people would not be able to save themselves, he claimed.
Basistha Deva Sarma, Burha Sattriya of Barpeta Sattra said in his address that even the agitational programme he along with the bhakats of his Sattra had undertaken, failed to impress upon the authorities to free the Barpeta Sattra land from the encroachers. Under such situations, the encroachers have become fearless.
The encroachers has also made pisciculture in the Jania and Patbauchi Sattra beels impossible with the act of using chemical fertilizer and pesticides in farming activities in these beels� areas.
Addressing the function, Mukul Chandra Barkataky, covenor of the Sattra Study Committee of the NPI urged for celebrating the birth anniversary of Srimanta Sankaradeva on September 25, this year as a day for initiating a massive movement to free the Sattra land from encroachment.
Executive Editor of Amar Asam, a vernacular daily, Sattradhikars of Ramrai Kuthi and Dakhinpat Sattras Jitendranath Pradhani and Janardan Dev Goswami respectively, also addressed the function, which was presided over by former Additional Chief Secretary Chandra Kumar Das.