NEW DELHI: Villagers in Assam are fleeing for their lives, terrified of attack and reprisal as rumours flood the hamlets after the brutal attack on Adivasis by Bodo militants.
The complete absence of faith in the state government and the authorities was visible as nearly two lakhs residents have left their villages, and fled to neighbouring states, despite assurances from Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Even though technically there has been no untoward incident of violence since the last two days in Assam, the fear driving the people out of their homes has not abated.
The number of relief camps have been increased from 81 to 136. And the number of persons displaced through this latest bout of violence, according to an official release, has reached 1.76.000 in these camps.
Relief camps have also been set up in the neighbouring states of Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal since hundreds of people fled to these states when violence hit their villages.
The Assam government is now making arrangements to bring back these people who took shelter in the neighbouring states. According to the state government steps were being taken to bring the people back to their state. However, these steps seem to amount to little with Gogoi showing no sign of holding himself responsible for the continuing violence in the state and resigning from the post.
While 441 Adivasis are currently staying in a relief camp in Alipurduar district in north Bengal, around 800 Bodos fled to Arunachal Pradesh taking shelter at a camp in East Kameng district.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi reviewed the status of relief operations yesterday along with the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and senior officers from Home, Revenue and Disaster Management, Health & Family Welfare and PHE departments and the senior officers deputed to the affected districts.
Gogoi directed the DGP to intensify the confidence-building measures and undertake strategic deployment of forces, so that camp inmates could return to their respective villages as early as possible.
Alongside, measures are taken to provide all the necessary requirements to the camp inmates. Sufficient stock of food items like rice, dal, salt and mustard oil have been made available to the relief camps along with baby food, candles, blankets and firewood.
The Health and Family Welfare Department has released an amount of Rs 5,00,000 to all the four districts so that medicines are available in sufficient quantity besides deploying 19 ambulances, two Sanjeevani vehicles and 18 specialist doctors.
On the other hand, demand for imposing the President’s rule in the state have been strengthened.
While the state BJP unit, former chief minister and AGP president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, All Assam Tribal Sangha and All Bodo Students Union have demanded imposition of President’s Rule following the carnage, Assam Congress said that their demand was unacceptable.
Chief Minister Gogoi, however added “If the Centre wants to impose President’s Rule, let them impose.”
Meanwhile, the Army on Sunday came close to making its first breakthrough when troops discovered a makeshift camp in a forest in Patgaon of Kokrajhar district, which it claimed to have been used by the Bodo militants.
“The militants had escaped but our troops recovered eight bikes, one of which was used by the outfit’s area commander Jablang,” defence PRO Lt Col S Newton said.
Also, the Army plans to soon extend its operations to West Bengal which borders Kokrajhar district in the west and Arunachal Pradesh bordering Sonitpur district in the east in order to search for the NBFD(S) militants.
The anti -talk Songbijit faction of NDFB mowed down over 70 Adivasis in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Sonitpur districts on Tuesday. The violence continued since then with police firing, retaliatory attacks and counter-attacks which eventually led to the death of 81 people, including 21 women and 18 children.