GUWAHATI, Jan 12 � While the State gears up to reap the harvest in its customary fashion on the occasion of Bhogali Bihu, for some hundreds of farmers of the violence-affected villages of Karbi Anglong, however, the occasion will mean gaining lost ground in the field.
The 3,000-odd villagers, mostly farmers, will now start getting back to their homes under strict security vigil from tomorrow, after fleeing them for almost a fortnight in the event of the spurt in violence in the district. Needless to say, the fear still exists.
For the Rengma villagers of Khowanaigaon and its adjacent areas, the challenge is even stiffer. The militants had not only killed four villagers but also destroyed everything that had been sown. Even the granaries were destroyed and valuables seized.
Unlike other parts of the State, where harvest has brought smiles in the face of the farmers, the mood in Karbi Anglong is not the same if not the opposite. It is in this time of the year that they become more vulnerable to extortion threat of militant groups. Karbi or Rengma, the situation is no different.
�Incomes from our harvest, especially oranges and betel nuts and leaves, are to be shared with militant groups. Police claim that they are very less in number, and if it is so why have they not been able to control them? Nobody thinks about us. We are made political scapegoats year after year,� rued a local farmer.
�They had destroyed our yield completely. It is just like a nightmare. The incident has changed our lives completely,� said a Rengma villager, who lost his wife on the December 27 morning when a group of armed and unarmed people killed four of the villagers besides destroying the crops.
The villagers said that they would have to start from scratch now and without any government support it would be impossible to sustain.
The Deputy Commissioner of Karbi Anglong, PK Buragohain, told The Assam Tribune that people will start going back to their homes from tomorrow, which in itself could be a reason to celebrate. There were over 3,000 villagers in the nine relief camps set up after violence had broken out in the district.
Although, community feasting during uruka is not a common feature in this part of the State, yet people celebrate in their own way to mark the occasion in some pockets of the hill district.
The Deputy Commissioner said that the situation is now under control, but �we are taking no chances�.
�Every village is guarded with armed security personnel and they will be there until complete normalcy returns,� he said.