Bhagalpur riot victims to get back land: District administration

Bhagalpur riotsPatel Yadav with beneficiaries of Garhotia village (IE image: Ravi Sahani)

Seventeen families who fled their homes after the 1989 Bhagalpur riots may finally get back their plots of land. "Our team will visit Garhotia on Thursday to restore all 17 plots... to the families," said Bhagalpur District Magistrate Prem Singh Mina.

This comes a day after The Indian Express reported that despite the Bihar government's claims, the land in Garhotia village is yet to be restored to its owners. Instead, the land, adding up to 7,405 square feet, is controlled by 75-year-old Patel Yadav, who has been illegally tilling it for the last 24 years.

Mina said the district administration has already got a written undertaking from Yadav stating that he will vacate the land. "All 17 families will be given fresh land possession papers, and the records will be updated," he said.

"The district collector, land and revenue officers visited the site just once. The land was measured, but we were not given possession papers," said Mohammed Mustakeem, a member of one of the 17 families. When told about Mina's statement that the process to restore the plots would begin on Thursday, he said, "It is a relief to know this. We have been running from pillar to post all these years. We even went to meet the Chief Minister a year ago."

Addressing a rally in Delhi in October, Nitish Kumar had claimed that the land had been restored to all the affected families.

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