Bihar families mourn loss of kin in Assam

The families, mostly landless, curse their poverty and the lack of job opportunities in the state for the fate their kin met.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2007 17:45 IST

Lajwanti Devi sobs inconsolably, holding her three-month-old baby to her. Her tears have not stopped since Saturday night when she learnt of her labourer husband's killing in Assam by militants who shot dead more than 50 migrant workers from Bihar.

Lajwanti, who is in her early 20s, lost her young husband Raghuvir Das to United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) militants. "My husband left the village only last month to earn money as it was difficult to manage our family. I did not know he would be killed like this," she said.

Like her the families of other slain migrant labourers are also in grief. The families, mostly landless, curse their poverty and the lack of job opportunities in the state that forced their men to seek jobs outside the state.

"It was poverty and lack of job opportunities that forced the poor men to leave their villages and get killed in Assam," said Chulahia Das, brother of Kamal Das, a migrant labourer of Karnauti-Sangrampur village in Vaishali district, who was killed in Assam.

"We are victims of poverty. Our world has been devastated. My son was the lone bread earner. He was forced to migrate to Assam to work to earn a few hundred rupees to support us here. But he was killed for no fault of his," sobbed an angry Mangru Das, the elderly father of another migrant labourer from the village who was killed.

Two days after the killings, there is a silence in the village, broken occasionally by the wails of mourning women. The village lost four men in the killings.

Nearly 50 people of the village have been working at brick kilns in different parts of Assam, particularly Dibrugarh and Silchar. All those killed were the lone bread earners of their families, which were living below the poverty line.

Karnauti-Sangrampur village, home to over 80 landless Dalit families, is one of many villages in the state where families have lost their men to militant attacks.

First Published: Jan 08, 2007 17:45 IST