Updated: December 26, 2014 9:05:50 am
On Tuesday morning, Lukumoni Orang gave birth to a baby boy. Less than 12 hours later, she was running through paddy fields, holding the infant close to her chest, chased by suspected NDFB(S) militants firing their AK-series weapons.
A resident of Milanpur village, near Sonajuli-Phulbari, where the armed militants struck on Tuesday evening, Lukumoni is among the many Adivasis who have taken shelter at the Tinisuti Middle School, about 12 kilometres from here. She is among the lucky ones, having managed to find her other two children who were missing for a night. But she is still in shock.
“The woman refuses to talk. She is suffering from shock and pain. Last night, she kept shouting that they would kill her baby,” said Lakshmi Orang, an elderly woman at the relief camp.
Lukumoni did not even talk to the two doctors who examined her. “She is in shock. Moreover, she may be facing a language problem as she can only speak the Santhal dialect,” said Lakhi Orang, another villager.
All the houses in Milanpur village have since been reduced to ashes.
Samuel Soren, another survivor from Phulbari, found his wife and two children on Wednesday afternoon. “They managed to flee before the militants came near our house,” he said, the relief visible on his face.
“There were several pregnant women who ran away when the militants attacked Sonajuli-Phulbari,” said Mintu Hembrom, general secretary of the All Santhal Students’ Union, which is helping the local administration in relief work. About 2,000 people, including children who have lost their parents, have taken shelter at the two relief camps close to the Tinisuti police outpost.
Many of them have lost a loved one. Urbina Baskey lost her husband. Phudan Baskey lost his son and daughter-in-law. Mirza Kiskoo lost his wife and two daughters. All of them have taken shelter at the Tinisuti High School relief camp, helping each other overcome their grief.
“Over 7,000 people have fled their villages and taken shelter at the six relief camps in the district,” said Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner Lalit Kumar Gogoi.
About 6,000 are reported to have fled Sonajuli-Phulbari, where 31 people were killed. Another 1,500 people have fled from the villages under Rangapara police station. Similarly, several thousand people have also left their villages in Kokrajhar district, where 25 people were killed.
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