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2 killed in Assam Eviction Drive; Man beaten with sticks caught on camera

A video that went viral on Thursday sparked massive outrage on social media platforms. A man was seen being beaten up with sticks by the police during a clash between alleged encroachers and police while Assam Eviction Drive was being carried out by the cops in the Darrang district of Assam. 

Violent clashes broke out between police and locals during an eviction drive in which so far, 2 people are reported to be killed, and as many as 9 policemen are said to be injured in Assam’s Darrang district. As per reports, people gathered to protest against the eviction drive that was being carried out by Police in Dholpur village under the Sipajhar revenue circle. Violent clashes broke out and even stones were pelted at Police. 

A video surfaced on social media platforms on Thursday in which a man was seen chasing the police officials with sticks. The police immediately started beating up the man with their lathis and the man succumbed to death on the spot. Also in the video, a photojournalist can be seen jumping on the dead man and even hitting punches on him. The photojournalist is identified as Bijoy Shankar Bania and is said to be working with the Darrang District Administration. As per the police, he has been arrested and a case has been registered against him and the probe will be carried out by CID. 

Two people identified as Saddam Hussain and Sheikh Farid are said to be dead in this protest against the eviction drive, however, there is still no confirmation from the authorities on this. An ASI rank Police Officer is admitted at Gauhati Medical College and is said to be in critical condition. The state government ordered a probe into the circumstances that led to the death of two people. The probe will be conducted by a retired judge of Gauhati High Court. 

The area, spanning 7000 bighas of government land, is part of a community farming project that was recently cleared by the state cabinet. Last Monday, the district administration evicted 800 households in the first phase of eviction without any untoward incident being reported. Thursday’s drive was meant to evict the remaining 500 households who had been served the notice the previous day. CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “The police were given a task to evict the encroachers and were carrying out their duty and they were attacked by people with stones and sharp weapons which prompted police to open fire.” He even said, “The eviction drive will continue.”

The video has sparked massive outrage on social media platforms with a section of people targeting the BJP government by alleging that in the garb of eviction drives, they are targeting innocent Muslims and labelling them as illegal Bangladeshis. There are also people who are standing with the government by stating that the government is doing a good job by evicting these encroachers from government land.

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