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Assam govt pays compensation to persons whose houses were demolished in Nagaon 2 years ago

Assam govt pays compensation to persons whose houses were demolished in Nagaon 2 years ago


Nagaon, May 23: The Assam government informed Gauhati High Court on Wednesday that it has compensated the persons whose houses were demolished by the administration after they had allegedly torched a police station in Assam’s Nagaon district in protest against the ‘custodial’ death of a fish trader, the victims’ advocate said.

Zunaid Khalid, the victims’ advocate, said the state government informed the HC, in relation to the suo motu public interest litigation (Case No.: PIL(Suo Moto)/3/2022), that a total of Rs 30 lakh in compensation has been paid to five persons, while payment to one is still pending.

The government paid Rs 10 lakh each for two pucca houses and Rs 2.5 lakh each for the five kutcha dwelling units that were bulldozed by the administration at Batadrava in Nagaon district.

The recipients of the compensation are Inamul Haque, Hifjur Rahman, Mojibur Rahman, Rafiqul Islam, Akkas Ali, and the legal heir of the deceased Safiqul Islam.

Safiqul’s wife is yet to obtain the legal heir certificate, so the payment to her is withheld until the issuance of the document.

Batadrava police station was set on fire on May 21, 2022, by a mob following the alleged custodial death of a local fish trader, Safikul Islam (39), who was picked up by police the night before.

A day later, district authorities bulldozed seven houses, including that of Safiqul’s and his relatives, purportedly in search of weapons and drugs hidden beneath the structures.

In November 2022, the then Chief Justice R M Chhaya had pulled up the Assam government over its action and wondered if “tomorrow you need something, you will dig up my courtroom.”

“How can you do it? You can be anybody. Nobody is safe…under the guise of investigation if you pull down anybody’s house,” he had added.

The court had then stressed that “bulldozing of a house is not sanctioned under any criminal law,” even if an agency is investigating a “very serious matter.”

The Chief Justice had further said incidents of such bulldozing of houses are done in movies, and even in those, the search warrant is shown before the act.

Justice Chhaya had even equated the bulldozing of houses to an act in a “gang war” and asked the home department to find better ways of carrying out their investigation.

In January 2023, the Assam government had informed the HC that appropriate actions would be taken against erring officials for demolishing the houses of the accused.

Accordingly, the HC had directed the state government to compensate the persons affected by the demolition.

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