Justice elusive for Assam blast victim families

Moriam pays tribute to her father in Guwahati on Tuesday. Serial blasts by suspected NDFB militants at Ganeshguri and Panbazar and in Bongaigaon and Barpeta Road in western Assam had killed 88 persons and critically injured 124 others on October 30, 2008.

October 30 has been the ‘most disturbing’ day for Rejina Begum since her driver husband Musharaf Ali was killed in Assam’s deadliest militant attack 10 years ago.

After skipping last three death anniversaries, Rejina and her 15-year-old daughter Moriam gathered under the Ganeshguri flyover here where an IED explosion triggered by suspected NDFB militants had killed her husband when the city-bus he was driving was passing. “I don’t come here every year because she (Moriam) gets very disturbed. This affects her studies badly. But I decided to come this time since it is the 10th year today (Tuesday). We thought the government will tell us today about when we will get justice but they said nothing,” Rejina told DH as Moriam paid floral tribute to the memorial stone constructed for the blast victims.

“It has been very tough 10 years. She keeps asking me about when will her father’s killers be punished. But I have no answer even today,” said Rejina, who works as a domestic help at her village in Chaygaon, about 50-km west of Guwahati.

Serial blasts by suspected NDFB militants at Ganeshguri and Panbazar and in Bongaigaon and Barpeta Road in western Assam had killed 88 persons and critically injured 124 others. The attacks invited widespread condemnation prompting the government to order a CBI inquiry to punish the guilty.

Khiroda Barman, mother of 22-year-old Moni Barman, an auto-rickshaw driver who too had died in the same attack, looked impatient. “Government called us here today but the chief minister did not turn up. Maybe because he has no answer about when we will get justice. I have been making rounds of the offices pleading for grade IV jobs to my two other sons but nothing has happened yet,” Khiroda said. The state government had paid Rs. 7-lakh to each family of the deceased.

Nearly 100 family members of those who died or injured in the attack gathered under the flyover for the 10th death anniversary but justice continued to remain elusive for them.

A lawyer associated with the case said the trial against 22 arrested accused including NDFB chief Ranjan Daimary was on in a fast-track court set up in December last year. Four others are still absconding while three had died. CBI had submitted two charge sheets in 2009 and 2011. “Out of the 850 witnesses in the attacks, statements of 632 have already been recorded and we hope a judgment will be pronounced this year itself,” he said.

Daimary is out on bail since he was ‘pushed back’ from Bangladesh and the NDFB is in ceasefire with the government for peace talks. 

 

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Justice elusive for Assam blast victim families

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