Uncertain fate stares hard at displaced Rengma Nagas
DIMAPUR, JANUARY 20
The shadows of uncertainty and the fear of being displaced even from their makeshift relief camps looms menacingly over thousands of Rengma refugees sheltered at Borpathar area in Karbi Anglong district, Assam. All the relief camps in Borpathar have been housed in three separate school buildings. Trouble is, academic session in Assam is set to begin this month. And students are already turning up at the schools – which are currently masquerading as relief camps – to fill up their admission forms, according to an inmate at Borpathar High School.
The sight of school children turning up at the school gates for admission has triggered panic among the refugees. “We don’t know what will happen to us now. Neither can we leave the school now nor can we return to the village,” said the inmate, while sharing their collective predicament.
Desperate times, however, have called for desperate measures, it would appear. On the morning of January 18 last, the panic-stricken inmates of the relief camps selected 24 persons from among them and decided to send them on a “visit to our villages.”
The scouts were expected to be back by Sunday night with their reports as to whether it was safe for the displaced villagers to return home or not. Evidently, there has been no suggestion from those in power yet that it is absolutely safe for the villagers to re-settle among the wreckages of their home.
And again by extension, the future of the school-going children sheltered in the relief camps are also under serious threat. The increasingly familiar sight of other children turning up outside their makeshift home is a daily reminder that they have missed out on yet another opportunity.
According an inmate at Borpathar High School, “about four days back” some officials from the Assam Education department had paid a visit to the camp. “He asked for the names of those who are about to appear their matric and Class XII exams and after collecting all the detail he left.”
Till date, the inmates are still in the dark about the outcome of the officials’ visit. It was learned that most of the students set to appear their HSLC and HSSLC exams have been relocated to Dimapur.
Eastern Mirror had earlier reported that there are at least 381 school children among the displaced Rengmas who are missing out on school admission. “For me as a parent, this is my biggest fear. I don’t want my child to miss school,” the report had quoted one of the parents.
Till date, there has been no intimation whatsoever from the Education department towards addressing the problem, according to one of the parents. “They came and went with the details about our children who are set to write for their exams next month.
“But they have not said anything about the rest of the children whose classes starts this month,” said a youth leader.