Call for Bodo regiment after Assam jawan's martyrdom

Call for Bodo regiment after Assam jawan's martyrdom

Maneswar Basumatari

Maneswar Basumatari, a CRPF head constable called his teenaged daughter, Rani on Tuesday morning from his Jammu-based transit camp to wake her up for studies. There was no call to her since then.

Around 5 pm on Thursday, when Rani called him, the phone was found switched off, less than two hours after the vehicle Basumatari was travelling into Kashmir was blown off by a suicide bomber near Pulwama, killing 49 soldiers. "I did not speak to him properly that morning as I was feeling asleep," Rani broke down at their residence at Kalbari village in western Assam's Baksa district on Friday morning, as the family got a confirmation about his death in the attack.

Basumatari, who joined CRPF in 1994 had left his home for Jammu on February 4, after spending his leave with his wife, daughter and son. "He visits me every time he comes home. This time he could not visit as he was busy in repairing his kitchen. I also could not come and now we will never ever meet," his inconsolable sister cried as relatives and neighbours crowded the martyr's home.

The ill-fated bus was part of 78-vehicle convoy ferrying 2,547 security personnel from a transit camp in Jammu to Kashmir through the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Basumatari belongs to the Bodo community, the second largest ethnic community in Assam. His village falls under Tamulpur police station in Baksa district, about 110-km from here, close to India-Bhutan border. The area has seen a long problem of militancy and even demand of sovereignty by militant groups, who claim to be fighting for "rights of the Bodos."

Basumatari's sacrifice has prompted All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) urge the Centre to raise a Bodo Regiment, similar to Naga and Gorkha Regiment of the army in order to allow more Bodo youths to serve the nation and fight the terrorists in conflict-ridden areas like Jammu and Kashmir. "Many young boys from Assam and the Northeast have fought the terrorists and even laid down their lives. Many more are ready to serve the nation and hence we want to request the Centre to raise a Bodo regiment so that Bodos can give a fitting reply to the terrorists together," ABSU president, Promod Boro told DH, while mourning the deaths.

Meanwhile, CRPF officials visited Basumatari's home on Friday and his mortal remains are likely to reach home on Saturday.