Displaced Bodo tribals have started returning home from relief camps in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts, but Muslims living in temporary shelters in Dhubri district are staying put.
According to Assam government figures, the number of relief camps in Kokrajhar has come down from 90 to 54. In Chirang too, the number of relief camps has fallen to 23 from 92.
The number of inmates of the relief camps in Kokrajhar and Chirang has come down from nearly 3 lakh in the last week of July to 1 lakh now.Government authorities have, however, managed to close only six relief camps in Dhubri, a Muslim-majority district bordering Bangladesh. Nearly 1.5 lakh people are still living in 133 relief camps in Dhubri. Only 29,000 people have left the relief camps in Dhubri.
The falling number of relief camps in the three western Assam districts wracked by violence since July 20 is giving the state government hope of peace returning.
Even Bodo leaders seem to agree. “People came to relief camps in Kokrajhar and Chirang out of fear. Now that the situation has started to improve, they are leaving the camps,” Pramod Boro, president of All Bodo Students’ Union, said on Tuesday.
According to government officials, normalcy is returning to Dhubri too. People in the district’s relief camps, however, do not want to take any chances.
“A majority of the inmates of relief camps say they will leave for home once the situation improves. The situation has already improved. There have been no incidents of violence in the last two weeks in the district,” said Kumud Kalita, deputy commissioner of Dhubri district.
Abdur Rahim Ahmed, president of All Assam Minority Students’ Union said, “Minorities are still panic stricken. Most of the inmates of Dhubri relief camps had fled from Kokrajhar district during the violence. They still fear for their lives. I am sure they will leave the relief camps once the situation improves.”
Assam director general of police Jayanta Narayan Choudhury said, “The situation after the violence is gradually coming back to normal and we are making efforts to ensure that the camp inmates return home.”