At one relief camp, they distributed medicines to affected much before administration stepped in

The day Landampoora village was attacked, Maya Boro was alone at home with her three small children. Her husband works with the Assam Police and is posted in Dayaan. However, being a policeman’s wife, Maya was quick to act when she heard gunfire. Catching hold of her three children she fled.

Ever since that day (July 21), Maya has been busy serving food — basically rice and dal — to fellow victims at the S.K. Jewari School relief camp here.

It has been volunteers like her who have made life easier for those in the camp. She keeps the morale of the refugees up by saying that the day is not far off when they would be able to go home.

“Some boys from the camp have been quietly visiting the villages to see if the attackers are still there. But the attackers have fled and we are hopeful of returning home soon.”

Others like Vinay Basumatary, who is in the transport business, and so understands Hindi and English quite well, have been busy translating for the media and officials what the other victims at the camp have to say. As an animated and unlettered Aniram Brahmo, a resident of Khurida Shandala, went around shouting when some officials came visiting, Vinay politely told the media that the man was angry because the government was not assuring any police protection for the return of the villagers. “What if a month or so from now, the attackers return?” he said.

Vinay personally did not see any merit in this demand of Aniram for his own village, Pokregram, was burnt down despite being in close proximity to a police station.

Dilip Brahmo, whose petrol pump on the main road in Monakosha village was burnt down, says all the houses in his village were looted by miscreants before being torched. Now, he has been spending time arranging food and medicine supplies for the camp.

Many of the camps, particularly those meant for the Bodos, have been offering better services from day one primarily on account of the contribution of the volunteers and their proximity to the main town.

As news of the violence spread, youngsters like Tapan Kumar Brahmo formed committees to start such camps. “We formed a committee of 31 people to serve the refugees. “As people began coming to this camp from villages like Faruguda, Malagudi, Chokramara and Dologaon, some of which were nearly 10 km away, we first began cooking and distributing food.”

Subsequently, at the S.K. Jewari School relief camp, the administration provided doctors and other staff for the victims. Dr. Uma Narzary, who was posted here, said with nearly 2,000 people in the camp, the need for medicines was huge. “We are only dealing with the basic needs and disorders here,” she added.

At the Commerce College relief camp within Kokrajhar town, the volunteers played a major role in distributing medicines to the refugees much before the administration stepped in by sending medical teams from its dispensaries.

People like Manik Chandra Basumatary and Masewary Arwary quickly formed groups to provide basic medical assistance to the refugees as they began pouring into the camp.

In the camps where the Muslim victims took shelter, the impact of the economic disparity between communities was clearly visible. At the Bodgaon High School relief camp for the first full week, the food supply was largely assured by activists of the All Bodoland Minority Students’ Union or social worker and businessman Abdul Ali Mondal. “I have been supplying rice and pulses to the camp. This is the least we can do for them,” he said.