Families reluctant to return to site of mayhem in Assam

Families reluctant to return to site of mayhem in Assam

Families reluctant to return to site of mayhem in Assam

It is a difficult situation for Safikul Islam. He wants to go back to his village but his wife and mother are unwilling to risk the family's life as they witnessed the mayhem in front of their eyes.

The district administration is doing everything possible to instill a sense of security and confidence among affected families by providing adequate forces, but the villagers do not want to take any chance as they apprehend that security will be withdrawn after the 'situation becomes normal'.

"I want to go back and start everything again if the situation becomes normal.But my wife and mother are not willing to go. They themselves saw the attack and how brutally people were killed.Even infants were not spared," Islam (26) told PTI here.

Islam's family, comprising his wife, two sons, one brother and mother, is among the five-odd families that did not suffer any casualty in the mayhem. All the six members are now taking shelter in the relief camp at Bhangarpar market.

"We were attacked by miscreants and when we went to the forest guards for help, they also fired at us.It is very sad that these forest guards lived with us in the village and we shared everything with them. We celebrated all festivals together and they are regularly treated by us at our homes," he alleged.

Islam is now thinking to shift to a completely new location if the government is willing to rehabilitate them. But a senior district administration official said there is no such policy of rehabilitating the victims to a new place.
"I do not want to go back.I am scared that they will come again. They came earlier also in 1994. We stayed back, now you see what happened to us," Islam's mother Romila Khatun (45) said.

Similar sentiment was echoed by other inmates also at the relief camp, set up on the east side of the Beki river. The attack took place in Narayanguri and Khagrabari villages on the other side of the river.

"The ladies of our families simply do not want to listen to anything if we talk of going back. They are very much terrified. Now we are thinking that for some days a few male members of the families will go and stay there.This might help in bringing back some confidence among them," Ramjan Ali (25) said.

The attack in the two villages took place when most of the male members were at the Bhangarpar market on the east side of the river for their daily businesses.That is why women and children suffered the most casualties.

The people of Narayanguri and Khagrabari on west side of Beki completely depend on the other side and the only way to reach there is by crossing the river by changing the boat twice and walking for about 300 metres.It usually takes around 45 minutes to reach the other side.

Although the villagers are skeptical to move back to their homes, they do not have any complaint regarding efforts made by the district administration for their security and rehabilitation.

Senior police officials are constantly with us, he said, adding Baksa Deputy Commissioner Vinod Seshan himself tied the ropes of their tents during heavy rains on the midnight of May 6.

When asked about the apprehensions expressed by the people, Baksa Additional Deputy Commissioner Bhawani Prasad Sharma said the authority has already stationed a Quick Response Team of Assam Police on the west side of Beki permanently.

"We are now setting up a camp there and planning to take some male members there for staying overnight.We will continue this process for few days to bring back the confidence," he said.

43 people were killed in the attacks in Baksa and Kokrajhar districts of troubled Bodoland Territorial Area.