Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a drive to grant ownership certificates to over a lakh families of 70-odd tribes in Assam, reasserting the state’s BJP government’s commitment to ensure that indigenous people have legal rights over their land.
Marking its launch, which came just a few months ahead of the state polls, he distributed ‘pattas’ to 10 people at ‘Jerenga Pathar’ in Sivasagar. The PM also castigated the previous state governments for depriving its lakhs of poor indigenous people of their land rights.
“When the Sarbananda Sonowal government took over the reins in Assam, more than six lakh indigenous families had no legal rights over their land. In the last few years more than two lakh such families have been allotted ownership certificates,” the prime minsiter said.
“With more than one lakh families added today, the government has shown its commitment to protecting the rights of the indigeneous people,” Modi said. The previous governments in Assam never cared for the rights of those who “loved this sacred land,” he added.
He said the land ownership certificates (pattas) will guarantee their ‘swabhiman‘ (pride), swadheenta (freedom) and suraksha (protection). He asserted that the BJP-led government is committed protecting the land, language and culture of the indigenous people.
The allotment of land pattas just before state elections is, meanwhile, being seen as a balm for the state which had erupted in violent protests a year ago over the Modi government’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
At Sivasagar, the prime minister also lauded the state government for having freed the world famous Kaziranga National Park from encroachers.
Referring to the celebration of 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as ‘Parakram Divas’, the prime minister said the day “inspires hope and national pride”. From Assam, Modi flew to Kolkata where he’ll attend an event on Netaji’s birth anniversary.
(With inputs from agencies)