Rehabilitation

BTAD: The democratic dragon

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During early 1990s thousands of Nepali speaking Bhutanese were forcefully evacuated from the country owing to the government endorsed ‘one nation; one people’ campaign which started in the late 1980s. Mr. Bill Frelick, Director of Human Right Watch wrote in his article about the inhuman atrocities on the Nepali speaking minority Bhutanese. The Bhutanese Royal authority forced them to sign a so called Voluntary Immigration Form, the government photographers asked the victims to ‘show their teeth’ to give a look that they had renounced their citizenship willingly and happily. Later part of the story is known to the world. Thousands of Nepali speaking minority Bhutanese have been languishing in the refugee camps in Nepal for almost two decades, out of which almost 80000 refugees have been resettled in the third countries USA, Australia, Canada, UK etc under the resettlement programme of UNHCR so far. Though the victims want go back to their homeland, but the Bhutanese government is not allowing any repatriate process claiming that those Nepali speaking minorities had voluntarily left the country.

This was the story of Bhutanese monarchy; but can you imagine that same story is going to be repeated in world’s largest democratic country ‘India’? Yes, it is alleged that the Group of Ministers of government of Assam and BTAD administration have been preparing a blueprint in the name of rehabilitation of internally displaced persons of recent ethnic riot of the BTAD area.. The riot victims who couldn’t provide land documents are not rehabilitated so far by the authority. As per the alleged rehabilitation policy these IDPs are going to be offered a mere amount of Rs. 50000/- as compensation with a pre-condition that the victims will have to give an affidavit swearing that they will not rebuild their houses in the earlier government land (Khas land), where they were residing more that 50 years or so before the ethnic violence. This is gross violation of United Nation‘s Guiding Principles on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Rehabilitation order on BTAD victimPHOTOCOPY OF THE ORDER UPLOADED ON 14-11-13

Hafiz Ahmed, President of Char Chapori Sahitya Parishad, Asom observed that this is the second episode of ethnic cleansing by the BTAD administration and supported by Tarun Gogoi government. He fears that if these people are deprived to go back to their home, will literally mean their expulsion from the BTAD as well. Being Non-Bodo they will not be able to purchase any land inside the BTAD area and with mere fifty thousand rupees they will not be able to purchase any land outside BTAD also. Ultimately they will be the soft target of so called nationalist organization in the name of illegal Bangladeshi immigrant.
In the meantime, as many as 19 non-political organizations within BTAD have convened an emergency meeting on 7th of this month and formed a coordination committee to address the issue. Mokhlesur Rahman, chairman of the coordination committee says that this is a part of greater conspiracy. The BTAD authority wants to drive out the Muslims from the area by any means. After the honorable Gauhati High Court‘s instruction of exclusion of non-Bodo majority villages from the BTAD administration, the authority is ready to do everything on war footing to establish Bodo majority and also to strengthen their demand of a separate Bodoland. He also informed that the coordination committee will make aware the people about the consequences of this conditional rehabilitation policy and they will demonstrate public protest as well as will take up the matter legally.
When lakhs of peasants of the state protesting against the allotment of thousand bighas of land to capitalists like Prithani, Lohia and Bhurakia and demanding allotment of patta of khas land to landless people of the state. At the same time Group of Ministers and BTAD administration’s alleged conspiracy to drive out the landless people from the BTAD area in the name of rehabilitation will definitely create a huge socio political debate in the coming days.