Rafiqul Islam was born and raised here. This was his home — till the day before, when a marauding group of miscreants burnt down the place he used to call his home.
Ever since rioting began in and around Kokrajhar about a week ago, Mr. Islam had been on guard. A businessman dealing in construction materials, he got a tip-off that his house and that of his mother adjoining it might be attacked. On Tuesday, it happened.
“People came to my house and that of my mother, Rabia Khatun, and set them afire,” he says, matter-of-factly.
Without displaying any signs of sorrow or fear, Mr. Islam goes about salvaging some clothes from what remain of the two houses.
“There are still some things and articles left in my house, but in my mother’s house, everything has been gutted,” he says. Two cars stand gutted in the two houses. Some household goods lie scattered around, while much of what remains is ash and soot.With two daughters and a wife to look after, Mr. Islam would probably be looking for a new and safer place. “All the family members are safe for now. My mother was residing in her house along with my brother, sister-in-law and their children. We moved to safer places before the attack took place.”
For Mr. Islam the loss has been not so much of property as of faith and trust. “I was born here, lived all my life here. Our family has been living here for the last 40-45 years. Why did they pick on us?”
What also hurt him is government apathy. Though the twin houses stand on the main road, barely a couple of km from the Circuit House which Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi visited on Thursday, no one paid him a visit. “I have not got any aid and no one has come to enquire about the attack so far.”