A year on, Assam blast victims’ families yearn for peace

October 28th, 2009 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

By Maitreyee Boruah
Guwahati, Oct 28 (IANS) A year ago, a powerful explosion beneath a flyover here blew her husband Sagar into pieces and fatally injured their four-year-old daughter. Guwahati resident Sunita Sarma has accepted the vacuum in her life.

Oct 30, 2008 - when serial blasts ripped through the state killing nearly 100 people and injuring over 500 - is a day that will remain forever etched in 29-year-old Sunita’s memory. Her husband was one of the victims and so was her daughter Marami who succumbed to her injuries in hospital.

“My life has changed completely since I lost both my husband and daughter. However, life has to move on. I have a six-year-old son Karan. I want to give a good education to my son,” Sunita told IANS, holding back her tears.

And she yearns for peace.

“We’re living under the shadow of terror. The government should bring peace to the people,” appealed Sunita, who is now taking care of the carpentry workshop run by her husband.

Assam experienced one of its worst terror strikes Oct 30 last year when eight coordinated explosions hit Guwahati and the western districts of Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon.

Kaustav Talukdar, 15, who lost his parents in the blasts can never forget the “black day”.

“I became an orphan after the Oct 30 bomb blast last year. I am alone in this world now. But I don’t want other children to have a similar fate. I demand peace and tranquillity in my land,” said Talukdar, who is under the care of his relatives now.

His parents Sunanda and Pranita, both in their forties, and Indian Oil Corporation officials were shopping at Ganeshguri when a powerful bomb exploded, killing Sunanda immediately and severely injuring Pranita. She died a few days later at New Delhi’s Apollo Hospital.

Kamala Choudhury, who lost her husband Rajesh Choudhury, an auto rickshaw driver, in the blast that rocked the Ganeshguri area, is struggling to make ends meet. But all she wants to see is peace in her homeland.

“I am struggling to survive with my three school-going children. I don’t want others to face the same fate. I want peace. I want my sons to live in a peaceful Assam,” said Kamala.

Rupam Baruah, a veteran columnist, said: “There have been decades of strife in Assam and people are tired of bomb blasts and terror attacks in the state. We demand peace from the government and want them to ensure the safety and security of the common man.

“So many women have become widows and children have become orphans due to terror attacks.”

There is no official estimate about the number of women who have lost their husbands to insurgency and ethnic strife in Assam.

According to Assam Police, as many as 440 explosions occurred in the state between 2002 and January 2009.

Triveni Baruah, the 56-year-old teacher who runs the Honsons English Medium School in Nalbari, around 60 km from Guwahati, also lost her husband in a bomb blast. She feels “peace is the need of the hour in Assam”.

“I lost my husband in a bomb blast nine years ago. I know I will never get him back but I hope that peace will return to Assam and no more innocent people are killed in explosions,” said Triveni, putting up a brave face.

Triveni’s husband Pranabesh was killed in a blast triggered by the banned outfit United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) near Nalbari on Feb 27, 2000.

Assam has long been a cauldron of violence triggered by insurgency and ethnic clashes, since the ULFA was formed in 1979. An estimated 25,000 people have been killed and hundreds more maimed for life since then.

(Maitreyee Boruah can be contacted at m.boruah@ians.in)

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