The Assam government on Friday told the state Assembly that no plots of land in the state has been encroached upon by foreigners. The state’s Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Jogen Mohan made the statement in response to a question by Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia.

The response gains significance as Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s government has conducted widespread eviction drives to clear plots of government land of alleged encroachers. Many of those who had been evicted or have been asked to vacate the sites are Muslims who had earlier lost land in floods and due to erosion.

During one of these drives in October, two people were killed in Dhalpur area of Sipajhar town of the state’s Darrang district after the Assam Police opened fire on villagers protesting against the eviction.

In an affidavit filed in a case related to this operation, the Assam government has submitted to the Gauhati High Court that 40% of the people evicted from Dhalpur were “doubtful citizens”.

In his reply to the Assembly on Friday, the minister said that 43,01,335.043 bigha of land is under encroachment. A bigha is 0.25 hectare of land.

Minister Jogen Mohan said that Nagaland has encroached 1,43,649 bighas of land while Meghalaya has encroached 4,850.68 bighas of Assam’s forest and revenue land. Mizoram has encroached 18,242.33 bighas of Assam’s forest land, while Arunachal Pradesh has encroached more than 81,688.17 bighas.