Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today said the drive to free the 700 Satras or Vaishnavite monasteries across the state from settlers will go on even as clearing of the Bardowa Satra, a 16th century Vaishnavite monastery, of illegal encroachers has been completed.
Altogether, 380 bighas (about 60 hectares) of the Bardowa Satra have been cleared of 25 to 30 families of encroachers, he told a group of journalists accompanying him from Guwahati to Bardowa.
“After the BJP-led government came to power in Assam, the eviction process was started as per the wishes of the people. It was completed within a month with the district administration taking strict action,” Sonowal said.
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Asked where did those evicted go, the Chief Minister said, “They have their own land elsewhere and have gone to different places. We are alert. We will track them and not allow them to encroach other places.”
On the Congress’ allegation that the government was “targeting” the (immigrant) minorities during the eviction drive at Kaziranga National Park recently, Sonowal said, “The Opposition must first answer whether they are in a position to honour the order of the Gauhati High Court for the eviction drive there.”
On Assamese Hindu illegal settlers also accusing the government of evicting them from the Dakhinpatra Satra at Guwahati, he shot back, “Encroachers are encroachers, whether they are Indians or foreigners. No one can be allowed to occupy others’ land.”
“This principle of eviction will be implemented everywhere. Whatever future situation will arise, will be handled with different schemes and planning,” Sonowal added.