India: Assam violence situation report 09 Oct 2008

Situation Report
Originally published
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The protest of Muslim Student Organization on 14th August 2008 against victimizing Minorities by the Assamese Majority resulted in a group clash in Darrang and Udalguri district.

The recent spurt of violence that started on 2nd October 2008 is an extension of the earlier clashes that seems to have stopped with army and police intervention.

Area under Violence :

Darrang and Udalguri District with partial extension to Baksha, Goalpara, Chirang, Kokrajar and Sonitpur District.

With intensified patrolling by the State Police, Para-military and Army the situation has been controlled for time being. Tension is prevailing in every nook and corners of the state despite the Army staging flag march and an additional ten companies of Border Security Force (BSF) being deployed in the riot-hit areas. Exodus of panic stricken people are either overcrowding the existing relief camps or forcing the administration to open more relief camps.

Area seriously affected

In Bhergaon Sub-division the villages like Tongla, Kirabari,Bhergaon,Dimakuhi, Kochubil, Paneri, Garuajar, Hatigarh, Gagra, barangajuli, kachalibasti, Atarighat, Bagaritol etc are seriously affected. Similarly in Horisingha Circle, Nawbandha, Uttarkalikhola, Maseria, Sonajuli are in critical condition.

In Dalgaon area the minority villages like Besimari, Lalpul, Karupetai etc badly affected. These people are taking shelter in near by camps. Approximately 55,000 minorities are taking shelter in 20 camps in the area are in very critical condition.

Total Death Toll:

Till 7th October 2008 it was 53 as per Govt. records but now it is contradictory. Death toll in Udalguri is 30, of which 19 (Muslim 12, Boro 5, others 2) people are died in violence and 11 (Muslim 6, Boro 2, others 3) died in police firing. In Darrang District 21 (Muslim 16, Boro 1, Garo 3) people died in violence.

According to Chief Minister of Assam Shri Tarun Gogoi the death toll is 40 till 8th

October 2008. The Govt. Spokesperson and Minister of Health etc Dr. Himanta

Biswa Sarma in a press conference at Mongoldoi said that the death toll has

increased to 47. The Chief Executive Member of Bodo Territorial Council,

Hagrama Mahilari said to reporter that at least 100 people have died in recent sprout of violence. With the recovery of more and more bodies and addition in missing people's list, there is a doubt that the death toll may increase many fold with relaxation in curfews.

Total number of people critically injured

:According to Govt. sources 90. (Muslim 22, Boro 26, others 12 and unidentified 30 in Guwahati Medical College). It is estimated that the injured are around 270 in different hospitals and private clinics.

Total number of relief camps opened

Around 85

The situations of most of the relief camps are pathetic as the victims are without proper care and attention. Many camps were over crowded and there is no effort from any agency to arrange space for the victims. The government fails to provide security and bring back the confidence of the victims so that they can go back to their respective villages. The Chief Minister of Assam said to media that it will not be possible to as of now to send the victims back to their villages. In all most all the camps fear, psychosis and sense of insecurity is prevailing among the inmates.

Total number of people in relief camps

Around 140,000.

Total number of people displaced

Around 150,000

Total numbers of houses burnt

Around 670

Summary of the situation

- The situation of the women and children are very critical and requires immediate attention. In most of the camps children's are hungry and crying for food. Local people could able to mobilize some ration to feed the affected people in the camps. The adults are one or other way managing with only one meal but the children are crying for food. Government relief measures are totally inadequate and due to continuous curfew the public and NGO supports are not reaching to the camps. Majority of the camps are without portable drinking water and sanitation facility, this resulted in increasing number of gastro intestinal complaints and people fear of breakout of epidemic. Some malaria infected people are also sheltering in the camps and in the absence of mosquito net or mosquito repellent the chance of more people affected by malaria can not be minimized.

- Jamuguri Lower Primary School Camp, Ramhari- Sheltering in this camp two PG student Bijayasri Cahari, & Daibika Boro and one M.phil student Siamsri Boro informed that 37 year old Sri Padma Boro son of Sri Shiv Boro of Uttar Mahilajar village died due to inadequate medical attention in the camp. He had been suffering from malaria in the camp and due to over crowding in the camp he passed three nights in open air that deteriorated his health. Due to curfew and continuous violence the camp inmates could not able to contact Doctor on time. Later on with the efforts of some influential local residence he was brought to Mongoldoi Civil Hospital but the authority denied admission. When the Mongoldoi Civil Hospital authority was convinced it was too late and he collapsed within a few hours of admission. Later on in the absence of proper cremation materials like wood etc the same could not be possible and he has been buried near the cremation ground.

- Bhakatpar ME school- Ms. Monika Sangma of Koirachali has given birth to a baby boy in the camp it self with the help of female camp inmates. To mention here is that the camps are very loosely managed by the administration and most camps lack basic minimum facilities. The situations of the pregnant mothers are pitiable and the camp inmates are worried about deteriorating condition of many pregnant mothers of the same camp such as Mamoni Boro, Sewali Boro, Ranju Boro, Anti Basumatari, Padmasri Boro, Namita Sangma, Golapi Boro etc.

- Assam government's rehabilitation policy of internally displaced people has been abysmally very poor. Adivasis, who were pushed to relief camps in Kokrajhar during the 1996 Bodo-Adivasi riots, are yet to be rehabilitated. Bengali Muslims who were the victims of Bodo-Muslim riots, have been waiting to return home since the last fifteen years. In such a situation the concern here is how to rehabilitate the victims who lost their houses, livelihoods etc.