1,672 illegal Bangladeshi families are identified to be illegally living in Assam's trouble-torn Karbi Anglong. They are being rooted out. Sources say it translates into more than 8,000 illegal Bangladeshi individuals living there. This is seen to be a direct attack on the indigenous nature of the tribal-dominated area with an intent to alter the demography of the area. It assumes all the more significance after Assam rose up against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, presuming the refugees may end up harming the Assamese culture. 

Why settlement in Karbi Anglong is a serious matter

Assam and North East, in general, have been very protective about their ethnic identity. Needless to say, the updation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being done at the behest of Assamese people, to identify non-Assamese, namely Bangladeshis. But the settlement in Karbi Anglong has wider significance as this hilly tribal area is dominated by Karbi tribe. It has a unique tribal nature. In spite of being in Assam, the most spoken language is not Assamese but Karbi, a local dialect. The area has a rich tribal culture of its own that is governed by an autonomous council under the Sixth Schedule. The locals see attempts to tweak its demography as the biggest assault on the inhabitants. And now, with 1,672 illegal Bangladeshis clandestinely taking refuge in the area, it is just a spark away from being blown into a violent law and order issue.

Bangladeshi encroachments and eviction

Tuliram Ronghan, the chief executive member of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) has officially revealed how attempts are being made by illegal Bangladeshis to settle here. Speaking to media, Ronghan confirmed, all of them practice Islam as their faith and are 'illegally residing' in Assam's volatile Karbi Anglong.

Now, an eviction drive has been started by the council to root out those illegal Bangladeshis. The council has also confirmed that so far 1,672 houses of illegal Bangladeshi Muslims have been emptied. 

What concerns authorities is that this is not the first time such illegal settlements from illegal Bangladeshis have come up. MyNation has reliably learnt that the authorities earlier had carried out a similar drive at the Langkaijan area in the district when it evicted over 100 residential properties where illegal Bangladeshis had settled surreptitiously. Sources say, at that time, the immigrants encroached upon vast tract of forest land, resulting in huge tribal resentment. 

“Total geographical area in Karbi Anglong is 10,434 sq km. A large number of illegal Bangladeshi Muslims are living in the territory of Karbi Anglong district. We have carried out eviction drive against these illegal Bangladeshi Muslims,” said Tuliram Ronghang.

Over 40 lakh people were excluded from the complete draft of NRC, which was published on July 30 last year. While their fate keeps dangling, the Supreme Court-monitored exercise is very clear with its intent to root out 'foreigners' from the state. But with a safe haven like Karbi Anglong being busted, authorities fear many Bangladeshis may have hid in tribal pockets to evade the scrutiny of NRC.

(With Inputs from Hemanta Nath)