GUWAHATI: An Assam woman, who was believed to be dead and whose last rites were performed four years ago, has emerged alive far away in Bangladesh.
The family of Rupali Bailung, aged 41 years, identified her on seeing a programme aired by an Assamese news channel. It had shared photos and videos of her posted by a Bangladeshi Facebook user, Kishan Bhumij, recently.
Nobody knows how the mentally-ill woman landed in Bangladesh. She moves around the streets of the country’s Moulvibazar district like a vagabond and lives on the food provided by people.
Rupali was reported missing in May, 2015 from her Cooperative village in Sissiborgaon area of Assam’s Dhemaji district, bordering Arunachal Pradesh, when she had gone out to the venue of a Bihu function near her village.
“Although she was mentally-unstable, yet she would always return home whenever she ventured out. That day, when she didn’t return, we searched for her at various places and later, filed a missing report with the police. After a few days, the villagers spotted the decomposed body of a woman near a river and we all thought it was that of hers. We brought it home and performed the last rites,” Rupali’s elder brother Jugal Bailung told The New Indian Express.
Stating that his sister, who is not married, developed the illness after she had passed out Class XII, Bailung said he had contacted the district administration besides local MLA and MP seeking their help to bring her home. He said he had no doubt that the woman featuring on the two videos was none other than his sister.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the state government would take all measures in this regard.
“As this involves another country, we will approach the ministry of foreign affairs. The ministry will do the needful,” he said.
However, Rupali believes she still lives in Assam.
“I am not a citizen of Bangladesh and I did not go to Bangladesh. Why do you talk like a fool? This is India. I am a citizen of India. The district has to be Lakhimpur (a neighbouring district of Dhemaji),” Rupali, who appeared ragged and shabby, was heard telling the person who had shot one of the videos.