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Rally against land acquisition
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, Jul 10 (NPN):
Published on 11 Jul. 2009 12:47 AM IST
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Amidst the scorching heat, more than five thousand people including hundreds of students in their school uniform turned up for the rally to protest against proposed land acquisition of Langrik area by the Army on Friday at Bor Lengri ground. It may be noted that Langrik area consisting of thirteen villages includes Lengrijan Cadastral, Borlengri blocks 1 and 2, Chota Lengri and Naharjan block 2 and has 5, 500 plus households and has a population of more than 35,000. Speaking on the occasion, Reena Mukherjee, a resident, accused the government of trying to evict the residents by saying that Nagas were not encroaching Assam. “We will die but not leave our land” she said and urged residents of the area to remain united in fighting against the eviction drive. Another speaker, Roland Killing accused the government of India of conspiracy against Northeastern states while alleging human rights violation and fake encounters by the security forces. Accusing the Assam government for lack of development in the area Rin Kumar Chettri, a senior resident also pointed that all the residents of the area were living in peace despite differences. Convenor, Political Cell, Langrik Anchal Surkhya Samithy (LASS), Aheto Yepthomi who also spoke on the occasion urged the residents extend cooperation against the eviction drive. Meanwhile Nilo Rengma, who also spoke said that the residents were not fighting against the district council or the government but for their rights. He also questioned the motives of the district council when he pointed out that the Army was meant for defence and not for acquiring inhabited areas. “It is forced eviction and not acquisition” he stated. He also accused the government of violating Article 19 under of the Indian Constitution. Later a memorandum to be submitted to the government was read out by Flt. Lt (Retd) & Advocate, Gauhati High court, P Leonard Aier. The memorandum pointed out that the government of Assam issued an order, dated June 21, 1993 declaring the proposal of acquiring land from Naharjan block 2, Bor Lengrijan and Chota Lengrijan for defense purposes. In response two public representations dated October 28, 1994 and March 4, 1995 were submitted to DC, Karbi Anglong Autonomous District, Diphu for exemption of the areas from the proposed acquisition. A third representation dated August 12, 2004 was submitted to the Chief Executive Member, Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council, Diphu after a field verification of the areas was done again in 2004. Meanwhile the petitioners filed their objections on June 9, 2009 under section 5A of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 to the DC, Karbi Anglong, Diphu, praying for accepting the objections in the interest of justice and for which the date of hearing has been fixed on July 18. The memorandum pointed out as per Article 19 (1) (e), Constitution of India all citizens were entitled to reside and settle in any part of the territory in India while Article 19 (5) unequivocally guaranteed the former Article as unrestricted for the protection of the interest of any scheduled tribe which preclude the operation of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. It also pointed out that by virtue of its accession through its declaration dated April 10, 1979, India is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 (ICESCR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR) which places a legal obligation under international law to ensure that its citizens enjoy all the rights and freedoms set forth in the two covenant. Article 11 (1) of ICESCR states that the signatories recognize the right of everyone to..adequate..housing and continuous improvement of living conditions. The speakers also pointed out that the village was established in 1869 and a Sarkari GB of Langrik Area was appointed in 1927. They also pointed out that the Land Acquisition Act was of the colonial era and stated that with the present socio-economic political scenario the act cannot justify its place in the Statute Book of India.

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