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3/20/2018 Adivasis, Bodos desperate to return home - The Hindu


Adivasis, Bodos desperate to return home

Sushanta Talukdar
UPDATED: DECEMBER 30, 2014 02:19 IST

No strangers to the miseries of relief camps, they want government to ensure

security in villages

With bitter memories of life in relief camps, the displaced Adivasis and Bodos in this border
settlement in Kokrajhar district of Assam are desperate to return to their villages. But, they
want the government to ensure security to life and property.

“Having grown up in a relief camp at Bismuri after my family was displaced twice in 1996
and 1998, I know the consequences of staying on in make-shift shelters with bare
necessities and without proper food. Epidemics, loss of loved ones in absence of medical
care, a break in education…,” Mithun Murmu, an inmate of the Saralpara relief camp, listed 1/2
3/20/2018 Adivasis, Bodos desperate to return home - The Hindu

the problems. “It is a depressing environment that I never want to face again. If the
government provides full security, we want to return right now,” he told The Hindu.

Over 8,000 Adivasis from 26 villages in the Ultapani reserve forest area have taken shelter
in relief camps after the December 23 attacks by militants of the National Democratic
Front of Boroland (Songbijit).

Habil Kindo agreed with Mr Murmu, but pointed out that the nearest police outpost,
Bismuri, is located about 35 km from the relief camp, and most of their villages are 15-20
km from the outpost. “We have left the harvested paddy and our belongings at home. We
are afraid to go back even to bring it to the relief camp. Who knows? The militants might
attack us again. The government has not only left us to live a life of penury, it has also left
us at the mercy of militants. It should deploy the army, set up permanent police pickets and
enable us to return home at the earliest. We do not want to languish in the camp again,” he
Phungbini Khalkali and other inmates of the new Basbari relief camp under the Serfanguri
police station, also no strangers to relief camps, are desperate to return home, but are
worried about security.
A joint delegation of the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) and the All Adivasi Students’
Association of Assam (AASAA), led by their presidents Pramode Boro and Raphael Kujur,
visited the Bodo and Adivasi relief camps on Monday. They appealed to the inmates not to
believe rumour-mongers, who were out to destroy unity among the people of the two
communities. Both leaders demanded that the government ensure adequate security for
the displaced villagers to return home and enable Bodo and Adivasi students to continue
the new academic session beginning in January.

Printable version | Mar 20, 2018 11:30:26 AM |

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