So Modi Was Right About Rhinos Being Endangered Because Of Bangladeshi Immigrants

So Modi Was Right About Rhinos Being Endangered Because Of Bangladeshi ImmigrantsIndian forest rangers patrol in Kaziranga National Park, some 250 km east of Guwahati. (BIJU BORO/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2014, the then prime ministerial candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Narendra Modi, accused the Congress-led government in Assam of killing rhinoceros in the Kaziranga National Park to make land for the settlement of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. He had said that his government would take stringent action against those killing the animal, which is categorised officially as endangered.

The Kaziranga National Park is a natural habitat for the rhinoceros, and encroachments on the land are detrimental to its survival.

For the last two days, the BJP-led government of Assam has been on an eviction drive to oust all illegal settlers, mostly of Bangladeshi origin, from the National Park on the orders of the Gauhati High Court. Around 1,000 security personnel have been present at the location, and the drive has been taking place early morning to prevent any adverse incidents.

However, a group of people affiliated to the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) has protested against the move. The head of the KMSS, Akhil Gogoi, has demanded that the government compensate the evicted people, both with land and money. He claimed that the squatters would have relocated voluntarily if they had been given three months to do so.

Further, he said that if the government did not back down, a Singur-like situation would occur. The senior leaders of the Congress met with those evicted and assured them that the matter would be raised in the state assembly with the Member of Legislative Assembly, Rupjyoti Kurmi, threatening to protest against the evictions.

Section 144 has been imposed by the Nagaon District Administration in areas of Bandardubi and Deosur.