Encroachment threatens Assam''s sattras

Guwahati, Sept 17 (PTI) The existence of several ''sattras'' or Vaishnav monasteries across Assam has been threatened by encroachment by illegal migrants mostly from Bangladesh.

More than 7,000 bighas of land belonging to 39 sattras are in the grip of encroachers with at least 85 per cent of the encroached land being occupied by illegal migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, the advisor of the Asom Sattra Mahasabha, Bhadra Krishna Goswami, claimed.

He said the encroachment came to light when a survey was conducted by the Mahasabha, the apex body of about 900 Vaishnavaite sattras of the state.

Assam Revenue Minister Bhumidhar Barman had mentioned in the last Assembly session that the government had no documents related to encroachment of sattra land but had constituted a committee to look into the issue.
The Gauhati High Court had also directed the state government to free sattra land from encroachment and the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police of the districts, under which the sattras fall, have been asked to evict encroachers.
A delegation of the Mahasabha also met Governor J B Patnaik who assured them that he would urge the government to take necessary steps in this direction at the earliest.