Allegations of Coercion: Forest Officials Accused in Assam’s Karimganj

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Controversial IFS officer MK Yadava and eight other forest officials face allegations of coercing residents, particularly from religious minority communities, in Assam’s Hailakandi district. The accusations involve threatening villagers in the Butukusi village to vote for the BJP candidate in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections for Karimganj or face eviction aided by bulldozers.

Electoral Contest in Karimganj

The Lok Sabha elections in Karimganj, scheduled for April 26, feature a contest between Congress’ Hafij Rashid Ahmed Choudhury and BJP’s MP Kripanath Mallah.

Residents of Butukusi village filed a petition at the Karimganj CJM’s court against MK Yadava and the other forest officials, seeking an impartial investigation into the alleged criminal intimidation tactics deployed before the elections.

The petition detailed instances of intimidation in various villages, highlighting visits by armed police and forest guards who threatened residents with eviction if they did not vote for the BJP candidate. The accused officials allegedly used derogatory language and demanded support for the ruling party.

The petitioners claimed to possess photographs and video clips of the incidents, urging the court to consider this evidence during the trial.

The petitioners emphasized the need for an impartial inquiry by an independent authority to address the allegations of coercion by state government officials.

MK Yadava faces additional scrutiny from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for allowing forest land use without prior approval from the Central government.

Local accounts corroborate the allegations, citing instances of officials identifying houses on forest land and coercing residents to vote for the BJP under the threat of eviction.

The allegations against MK Yadava and other forest officials have legal and administrative implications, with demands for accountability and impartial investigations into their actions.

The accusations of coercion against forest officials underscore the complex intersection of politics and administration during electoral processes. The legal proceedings initiated by the residents reflect their commitment to upholding democratic principles and ensuring fair elections.

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