Monday, August 13, 2012

Please Help Chirang

I received a heart-rending email from a friend last week about the conditions in Chirang. I was waiting until we could make a donation before posting it here, so here goes. Conditions have worsened in the meantime, so if it's within your means, please consider making a donation.

My friend Nandini wrote this, which I've edited to make it shorter:
I had the opportunity of going to Assam in May and staying with ANT (Action North east), an NGO near Bongaigaon through Suja Warriar. I observed first hand all the wonderful work they were doing for the up liftment of the community there. It is really sad to see the ongoing developments in the Bodoland. I have attached the details of my trip.

Suja Warriar, an employee of Infosys is on a two year sabbatical with ANT. She has been keeping us updated with all the happenings there.
These are excerpts from Suja Warriar's emails:

Assam is in news now, all the TV channels are showing reports and some are live, the villages shown are the ones we work.Chirang district, the places you are familiar with my mails.

Kokrajhar and Chirang are the most affected of this communal violence. Bodo hostels are burnt and curfew, Army deployed, but not sufficient. 1.7 lakhs people are in relief camps and our villages and the staff got affected. Some women delivered in the camps, literally on the river side with no shelter and no food for 2 days, we are safe and our small campus is safe and as an NGO, we are concerned about our staff, but not directly getting involved as this is a communal violence, we are providing shelter for the families of our staff. 
25 people already lost lives, 20,000 stranded in trains near our place... and it may worsen in coming the tension is building up in the dark distant villages.. 
I will stay here, middle of risk and tension, i am at peace, nothing happens to me and my daughter. we need to finish a small work started here and we will come back, some day we have a memory of exodus and relief camp memory to think about.
I sincerely pray for the bleeding bodoland, the cute little ones in the river side and in rain,the pregnant women waiting to get delivered, the family who lost everything and the innocent and ignorant people who gave me unconditional love.
Another update:
Six more people have died today in clashes between minority Bangladeshi immigrants and Bodos in four districts of lower Assam; 45 people have died in the ethnic strife since Friday, July 20.

Indefinite curfew and shoot-at-sight orders were in force in worst-affected Kokrajhar district, while night curfew was on in Chirang and Dhubri districts.

Nearly two lakh people are taking shelter in 150 relief camps while 11 persons are missing. In our own villages, around 61020 people are in camps including our staff and families.

Train services, which came to a complete halt for two days, have resumed with three special trains - one each to New Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore - being run from Guwahati to take passengers who were stranded at different places along the route. 
The Army today mobilised about 1000 troops to enforce peace in the areas. "The troops are also carrying out flag marches in these areas," officials said. 
Relief material started coming in. Rice and Dal. Some of our community workers and doctors are working in various camps.
Since most of the people left home after finding it burnt, whatever support coming from your side is welcome. Adding to the woes of flood, more agony to this most beautiful piece of land in India.
And this, I found so moving:
465 dialects in North East, nobody listened to their sadness, here is the 466th language “Violence”, and seems like somebody is listening at the centre.....
Here are contact and bank account details:
Udangshri Dera, Rowmari
P.O.Khagrabari, via Bongaigaon
Dist Chirang (BTAD)
Ph : 03664 293801/293802
A/c no 1201000100106170
Bank Name PNB

Jennifer Liang

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