KOKRAJHAR/GUWAHATI: Soon after Deepika gave birth to her son on July 30, three days after she and her husband
took shelter at the Titaguri-based relief camp in Kokrajhar, co-inmates christened the boy 'Daoharu', meaning a fighter. But his parents prefer to call him 'Santiram', symbolic of the peace that violence-affected people in the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) are praying fervently for, but which seems to elude them with sporadic incidents of violence being reported even about a week ago. When UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi came visiting the camp on Monday, she stopped by the newborn and his mother, enquiring after the baby's health and whether he was getting proper medical care. Deepika, however, had just one query: "When we will be able to go back to our village?" The new mother, who hails from Alivita, a forest village adjoining the Chakrashila hills in the district, told the UPA chairperson, "We want to go back to our native village as soon as possible and start life anew as we have lost everything in the violence." Deepika was echoing the sentiments of the hundreds of other inmates at Titaguri and thousands others at relief camps across BTC. All the relief camp inmates want is that peace be restored so they can soon return to their respective villages and start life afresh. The UPA chairperson, along with Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, chief minister Tarun Gogoi, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohilary, state cabinet minister and Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhubaneswar Kalita visited two relief camps in Kokrajhar - at Titaguri and Deborgaon - on Monday. In a brief interaction with mediapersons after she came out from the Titaguri relief camp, Sonia said that inmates were restive about going back to their villages as soon as possible. She, however, added that they might have to wait a while as their safety and security has to be ensured. "I have talked to the inmates in the relief camp. They are willing to go back to their village. However, it will take some time till the situation improves further. Everyone is working to create a congenial atmosphere. Once feelings are assuaged, the chief minister and others will make sure that they (inmates) are able to go home," Sonia said. She also said that during her interaction with the inmates, she asked them whether they had any complaints about getting relief material or medical care in the camps. "The inmates told me they are getting rations regularly. I found two children sick (at Titaguri relief camp). Doctors told me that they would soon attend to their medical care," she added. Later, Sonia, Shinde, Gogoi and Kalita went to relief camps at Panbari, Borkanda and Mashpara in Dhubri district. Many of the Muslims affected in the ethnic violence are lodged at these relief camps. In Dhubri, too, Sonia met Muslim relief camp inmates who were as restive to go back to their homes in the BTAD as the Bodo inmates in Kokrajhar. "We are moved by Soniaji's patient hearing of our woes. She assured us in front of the chief minister that all arrangements would be made for our safe return to our homes in the BTAD," Nekibur Zaman, an inmate of Borkanda relief camp, said. A delegation of All Assam Minority Students Union (Aamsu) met Sonia and Shinde at Panbari relief camp requesting seizure of all illegal arms possessed by surrendered militants in the BTAD. The ethnic clash, which started last month, has left 77 people dead and displaced about four lakh people, one of the highest displacements so far in the state's long history of ethnic strife.