TEZPUR : Heartrending stories of fear and sorrow have come to light from the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border villages following the violence unleashed by Bodos and adivasis in the region.
The terror unleashed by the militants had an impact in all Assam hamlets along a 15-kilometre belt running parallel to the Arunachal border.
“Some of our men saw the NDFB men moving around in our village and expected them to attack us, so we just fled,” said Renuka Hansda, relieved to have saved her life and her six-year-old son’s as well. Madhupur is more than 70 km from Tezpur, the district headquarters of Sonitpur. Dusty roads in these far-flung areas meander through tea gardens and seem to lead to nowhere. Little impoverished hamlets of the adivasi tea garden workers are visible only deep inside and are virtually cut off from the world. Here, neither the police nor the Army have any strong presence and there are gaping holes for terrorists to strike at will. Even politicians visiting the areas ensure that they don’t end up getting ambushed in the virtually lawless backyard along the Assam-Arunachal border.
When the retaliation happened at Ghagra Kachari village which is a Bodo-dominated hamlet, the villagers could do little as angry adivasi protesters burnt down shops along the village road. As the Centre and State governments resolved to take strong action, the challenge for the administration will be to restore trust among the communities and send back frightened families to their homes.