When Halima Khatun jumped into the Beki river with her five-month-old child to save his life from terrorists, she never thought it was the last time she was holding her child.
“Everywhere there was sound of firing. Some people who ran towards the forest guards’ post were also fired by them. I had no other option but to jump into the river,” Khatun (30) told PTI here.
While fleeing, she left behind her 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son as she could not find them and they are still untraceable. Her husband was at the Bhangarpar market at the time of the attack.
“I tried to swim across the other side of the river, but could not.I could not hold my infant child and he was washed away by strong current of the river in front of my eyes. I found a stationary log in the water and survived by holding on to it,” the inconsolable mother said.
She has not found the body of her child yet. “While in waters, the gunmen were firing at us.Thankfully the bullets did not hit me, but many who jumped to save their lives died,” Khatun said, adding she also lost her two brother-in-laws in the attack.
The current of the river was so strong that Khatun’s clothes were also washed away and Army personnel rescued her after almost two hours and gave a ‘lungi’ to cover her body.
Same is the story of other victims of the terrorist attacks in Narayanguri and Hagrabari villages of Baksa district.
Except three-four fortunate families, all the remaining 70-odd families have lost their loved ones. “I lost my three sons and a daughter.Their bodies were lying in the field when I reached there after an hour of the attack,” Ajimuddin Ali (50) said.
Ali, who was away in Bhangarpar market along with most of the men of the villages, ran to the river side after hearing gunshots. “But no boat was ready to cross the river fearing the attack.I had to wait for an hour to cross.And when I reached the village, everything was finished,” he said.
The weeping father said his wife jumped into the river with their two-year-old son, but the child could not survive the current of the river. “I have found the body of one of my sons and the child, but my other son and the daughter are still missing,” Ali, who is a tailor by profession, said.
75-year old Iman Ali said he lost his wife while he was away in the market on the east side of the Beki river, which flows through the Manas National Park. The attack on the people of Narayanguri and Hagrabari villages on west of the river took place at around 4 PM on May 2 when most of the men were in the market on the other side of the river.
This is why, most of the victims are women and children. A 40-member team from NDRF started their operation on Wednesday in Baki river to fish out the bodies of the missing
persons that are suspected to be flown in the river.
The district administration has set up a relief camp on east side of Beki river. Both the villages have been deserted by the people and around 600 persons are taking shelter in the
camp. So far, 41 people have been declared dead in the twin attacks since May 1 in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts of troubled BTAD.
The attacks were allegedly carried out by Bodoland People’s Front (BPF). After meeting the victims here, Assam Chief minister Tarun Gogoi had yesterday said his government will snap the ties with BPF if the charges against them are proved.
While the investigation has been handed over to a team of NIA, the state government has ordered an independent judicial probe into the incidents.