Despite protest the Cachar district administration in Assam carried out an eviction drive in three villages, dominated by the Khasi-Pnar community to pave wave for construction of high voltage pillars by NEEPCO.
Plantations in the three villages of Dabinalla, Durgacherra and Durbintilla were razed to the ground and all this was done without prior notice by the Forest Department that claims that the land fall under the Borail Wildlife Sanctuary.
Headman of Dabinalla, Henli Suchiang told Highland Post that the department claims that the land falls under its jurisdiction and the three villagers are now tagged as encroachers, even though they are recognised as revenue villages under Silchar Sadar Circle.
He said even the village heads that includes the headwomen of Durgacherra, Agatha Patwad and Durbintilla village, Jhorna Mukhim are appointed by the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar and all the three villages have been provided marked boundaries.
“We are not against development but we are against forceful eviction because we are not encroachers. We are duly recognised as revenue villages and all we want is for the government to pay us compensation,” Suchiang said.
It is also learnt that former Deputy Commissioner of Cachar, Keerthi Jalli had assured compensation to the villagers but a month later she was transferred.
“How can the forest department claim that the land falls under its jurisdiction when all the three villages were even paid compensation during the expansion of NH 53,” Khasi Jaiñtia Development Council Chairman, Sebastien Pakyntein questioned.
He said that the three villages have filed a petition in the Gauhati High Court three months back on the claims made by the forest department. “The eviction drive conducted is a clear case of contempt,” he said.
Pakyntein said the Khasi-Pnar community have been living there for centuries and appointments of headmen and headwomen were given since 1954.