Special Reports

Rehab India opens village for riot victims of Assam

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In a public function attended by hundreds of dignitaries and local villagers including women, children and youth, Rehab India Foundation on 29 May inaugurated its Rehab Village project to rehabilitate the homeless destitute families of Assam. The village is located at Nasnguri, Hapsara Panchayat in  Bongaigaon district of Assam. It was a moment of satisfaction for the workers of the Delhi-based NGO and also for its local associates who have been working on the project for the last three years. Keys to the independent houses, each having a bedroom, a kitchen and a toilet, were handed over to 45 heads of families from the nearby refugee camps. These people were pulling their lives without a shelter on the roadside and river bank for the last many years after having been forcefully driven away from their homes by tribals during the 1994-95 ethnic violence in three districts: Barpeta, Bongaigaon and Khokhrajhar. Still there are around 24,000 displaced persons belonging to around 2500 families who are unable to go back to their homes and lands. After some earlier rehabilitation effort, the state government has washed it hands off these internal refugees and tells them to take Rs 50,000 per family and leave the displaced persons camps.

The Rehab project consists of providing separate cottages for 1000 families out of which 51 houses have been readied for occupation. The land required for the whole project was procured in the beginning of the project. Rehab will now move to the second phase of the project to construct the next lot of houses as well as a primary school and a masjid in the village.

Foundation chairman E. Abubacker inaugurated the handing over of the cottages to the beneficiaries. The welcome speech was delivered by Hafiz Rasheed Choudhary, senior advocate and Secretary, Rehab India Foundation. Adv. K. M. Ashraf, General Secretary of Rehab, presented a briefing of the project. Other dignitaries who participated in the programme and spoke during the function include E. M. Abdul Rahiman, chairman of Popular Front of India, Abdul Raheem Shaik, additional district collector of Bongaigaon, Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, a trustee of Rehab and Editor of The Milli Gazette, Prof. Muhammad Sulaiman, Vice Chairman of Rehab and President Indian National League, Abdul Hai Nauguri, former MLA, Adv. Ameenul Islam, President of AIUDF Youth Wing and many others.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 June 2011 on page no. 17

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