GUWAHATI: Congress Legislature Party leader and former Leader of Opposition, Debabrata Saikia, on Monday shot a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking the right body’s intervention in protecting the rights of the hundreds of the dwellers of Laika-Dadhia area of the Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam’s Tinsukia district.
Rehabilitation of these forest villagers – mostly flood-hit – has been a long-pending issue since 1986, with the declaration of Dibru Saikhowa as a wildlife sanctuary. Earlier, several attempts were made to relocate them out of the national park, but no fruitful results were achieved.
The villagers have lost their crops completely in this year’s heavy floods.
“The Government is now seeking to evict them, thereby going back on successive assurances over the last three years or so, that these hapless people would be suitably rehabilitated. Consequently, the affected people have been staging a protest since the last week of December 2020 at a make-shift site near the DC’s office, Tinsukia. Three protesters, including a pregnant lady and her unborn child, have died because they were unaware to bear the chill of winter in the make-shift camp. Many other protesters are suffering from fever, nose-bleed etc. Hence, their just demands ought to be heeded by the Government of Assam and they should not be compelled to stage protests by braving the cold weather,” the letter from Saikia said.
NHRC Meanwhile, sources said that a committee constituted under forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya to monitor and support the process of relocation and rehabilitation of the displaced has identified 1,218 families which constitute a population of 5,556 in the forest villages of Dadhia and Laika who would be considered for relocation.
Besides the rehabilitation of the forest dwellers, Saikia also alleged the Nagaon district administration of handing over a plot of land where hundreds of locals were working as ryots since 1981 to a private solar power company without proper notification to the affected people
“I request you to take suo motu cognizance of the matter and issue notices to the Government of Assam and the district administrations of Tinsukia and Nagaon to show cause for the injustice and initiate urgent steps to ensure that the victims are not deprived of their land and livelihood in such an illegal manner,” he requested.