Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday accused the Popular Front of India (PFI) of instigating violence during an eviction drive in the state’s Darrang district and said the time has come to ban the extremist Islamist group. Two persons were killed and 20 others injured in clashes between police and alleged encroachers during an eviction drive in villages under the Sipajhar revenue circle on September 23.
“A certain group had accumulated Rs 28 lakh from the illegal settlers in Dholgaon of Darang in Assam promising that they shall not be evicted. The time has come to ban PFI. Earlier also, I had urged the Centre to ban the organisation. The petition seeking the same was sent during the CAA protest. The protesters had come prepared with sticks and weapons without any provocation,” Sarma said.
However, the PFI’s Assam unit president Abu Sama Ahmed has denied the charge and asked the state government to make the findings public.
The district administration had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPc to prevent any probable breach of public peace.
Sarma on Friday said over 11 police personnel were injured in the clash and an inquiry will be conducted on how a cameraman came into the scene, and why he tried to overpower that particular person. A shocking video showing a man slinging a camera and hitting a dead person with a bullet wound on his chest surfaced after the incident.
A judicial probe has already been ordered into the incident, the chief minister said. “A Congress delegation had also met me and had agreed on land allotment to the landless. The eviction was urgent as 27,000 acres of land have to be productively used and cannot be allowed to be encroached upon,” he added.
The eviction drive was halted on Friday but will resume soon, he said. The 12-hour Darrang bandh, called by the All Minority Organisations Coordination Committee, brought normal life to a halt.