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House witnesses noisy scenes, walkout over eviction

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GUWAHATI, Feb 1 - The Assam Legislative Assembly today witnessed noisy scenes followed by a walkout by the opposition Congress and AIUDF legislators after Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami rejected the plea for adjournment motion filed by both the parties to discuss the issue of eviction from government and forest land, which has been carried out in recent months in many parts of the State.

Goswami made his decision to reject the proposal for an adjournment motion after listening to arguments on admissibility of the motion by Leader of Opposition and Leader of the Congress Legislature Party Debabrata Saikia and AIUDF Legislature Party leader Hafiz Bashir Ahmed Kasimi and the reply of Parliamentary Affairs Minister CM Patowary.

Both the Congress and AIUDF had moved separate adjournment motions on the issue of the recent evictions and on the question of relief, compensation and rehabilitation of the affected families and sought adjournment of all other proceedings to discuss the issue in its entirety.

Saikia said that since coming to power in May last year the BJP-led government at Dispur has conducted eviction drives in the name of clearing encroachments at various places.

�Many of the families affected during the drives are local Assamese people who have been living in those areas for two or more generations,� he said.

Saikia added that in Sivasagar and Dibrugarh people have been evicted on the pretext of road projects, but they have been given compensation as per archaic British era laws instead of latest legislations framed by the government.

At many places people who had shifted to those locations after losing their land and property on account of flood and erosion, have been evicted.

�Many of the evicted families have myadi patta land� Constitutional and human rights have been violated� If the government does not fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, the affected people may resort to extreme measures,� Saikia said.

He said while carrying out eviction in Kaziranga last year the government had promised to provide compensation and rehabilitation to the affected people within 40 days, but so far nothing has been done in this regard. AIUDF�s Kasimi said that thousands have been left homeless due to the government�s drive.

�The affected people must be provided compensation and rehabilitated. Evictions have been carried out everywhere, from Kaziranga to Dhubri. Many genuine Indian nationals have been affected. Rather than eviction, the focus of the government should be on providing land and shelter to the landless people,� Kasimi said.

Both the Congress and AIUDF made it clear that while they do not support encroachment, they want the government to look at the issue from a broader humanitarian angle.

Patowary, on his part, said that the government is already looking at the issue from a humanitarian angle. �However, the fact is that whether it is government land or any other kind of land, nobody should support encroachment. There should be no discrimination or differentiation on the basis of caste, community or religion. Nobody should encourage encroachment just because people do not possess land,� he said.

Patowary added, �Whatever may be the case, eviction of encroachments will not stop.�

The Minister cited some works related to parliamentary proceedings to suggest that adjournment motions should not be allowed during Budget discussion or motion of thanks on the President�s or Governor�s address and said that members of the House are free to discuss any matter during discussion on the motion of thanks on the Governor�s address, discussion on the Budget and during cut motions on demands for grants.

The Speaker, while giving his decision, said that the Parliamentary Affairs Minister�s point is valid and MLAs can take up the issue of eviction during the general discussion on the Budget and the motion of thanks on the Governor�s speech. Goswami then gave his ruling rejecting the Opposition�s plea.

This led to protest from the Congress and AIUDF MLAs, prompting Goswami to say, �I have given my ruling. There is no further scope for discussion. You cannot challenge my ruling.�

He also asked the Opposition members not to disrupt the House. The Congress and AIUDF legislators then staged a walkout.

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House witnesses noisy scenes, walkout over eviction

GUWAHATI, Feb 1 - The Assam Legislative Assembly today witnessed noisy scenes followed by a walkout by the opposition Congress and AIUDF legislators after Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami rejected the plea for adjournment motion filed by both the parties to discuss the issue of eviction from government and forest land, which has been carried out in recent months in many parts of the State.

Goswami made his decision to reject the proposal for an adjournment motion after listening to arguments on admissibility of the motion by Leader of Opposition and Leader of the Congress Legislature Party Debabrata Saikia and AIUDF Legislature Party leader Hafiz Bashir Ahmed Kasimi and the reply of Parliamentary Affairs Minister CM Patowary.

Both the Congress and AIUDF had moved separate adjournment motions on the issue of the recent evictions and on the question of relief, compensation and rehabilitation of the affected families and sought adjournment of all other proceedings to discuss the issue in its entirety.

Saikia said that since coming to power in May last year the BJP-led government at Dispur has conducted eviction drives in the name of clearing encroachments at various places.

�Many of the families affected during the drives are local Assamese people who have been living in those areas for two or more generations,� he said.

Saikia added that in Sivasagar and Dibrugarh people have been evicted on the pretext of road projects, but they have been given compensation as per archaic British era laws instead of latest legislations framed by the government.

At many places people who had shifted to those locations after losing their land and property on account of flood and erosion, have been evicted.

�Many of the evicted families have myadi patta land� Constitutional and human rights have been violated� If the government does not fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, the affected people may resort to extreme measures,� Saikia said.

He said while carrying out eviction in Kaziranga last year the government had promised to provide compensation and rehabilitation to the affected people within 40 days, but so far nothing has been done in this regard. AIUDF�s Kasimi said that thousands have been left homeless due to the government�s drive.

�The affected people must be provided compensation and rehabilitated. Evictions have been carried out everywhere, from Kaziranga to Dhubri. Many genuine Indian nationals have been affected. Rather than eviction, the focus of the government should be on providing land and shelter to the landless people,� Kasimi said.

Both the Congress and AIUDF made it clear that while they do not support encroachment, they want the government to look at the issue from a broader humanitarian angle.

Patowary, on his part, said that the government is already looking at the issue from a humanitarian angle. �However, the fact is that whether it is government land or any other kind of land, nobody should support encroachment. There should be no discrimination or differentiation on the basis of caste, community or religion. Nobody should encourage encroachment just because people do not possess land,� he said.

Patowary added, �Whatever may be the case, eviction of encroachments will not stop.�

The Minister cited some works related to parliamentary proceedings to suggest that adjournment motions should not be allowed during Budget discussion or motion of thanks on the President�s or Governor�s address and said that members of the House are free to discuss any matter during discussion on the motion of thanks on the Governor�s address, discussion on the Budget and during cut motions on demands for grants.

The Speaker, while giving his decision, said that the Parliamentary Affairs Minister�s point is valid and MLAs can take up the issue of eviction during the general discussion on the Budget and the motion of thanks on the Governor�s speech. Goswami then gave his ruling rejecting the Opposition�s plea.

This led to protest from the Congress and AIUDF MLAs, prompting Goswami to say, �I have given my ruling. There is no further scope for discussion. You cannot challenge my ruling.�

He also asked the Opposition members not to disrupt the House. The Congress and AIUDF legislators then staged a walkout.