Refugee Camps in Violence-stricken Region of India
Adults and children carry their belongings to relief camps after ethnic violence in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 24. Medical officials denied reports that children faced an epidemic in the camps as violence flared anew 5 Aug. (Photo: CNS/stringer via Reuters)
07 Aug 2012 By Catholic News Service
NEW DELHI (CNS) — Medical officials in
Assam denied media reports that children have become
sick in relief camps housing hundreds of thousands of
people displaced by ethnic violence in Assam state.
“Everything is under control. We are monitoring
the situation. I don’t know where these reports are coming
from,” said Ananta Mohan Raba, director of health
services in Kokrajhar district, one of the affected areas.
The Asian church news agency UCA News
reported that several media said Aug. 5 that at least 6,000
children in the northeastern state’s violence-torn Baska,
Dhubri, Chirang and Kokrajhar districts have fallen ill
because of insufficient food and a lack drinking water and
There are no epidemics in the camps and “we are
providing everything the people need in sufficient
quantities,” Raba said Aug. 6.
Father Thomas D’Silva, spokesman for the
Bongaigaon Diocese, also denied the reports.
“Our medical teams are in the camps and have not
reported any such thing,” he said.
Numerous camps have been established since July
20 when fighting broke out after four Bodo youth were
killed by Muslims. Armed bands from both communities
torched settlements and plundered homes, leading to the
massive displacement of people. The murder of the Bodo
youths followed the killing of two Muslim youths earlier
Reaching out to some of the displaced people,
Bishop Thomas Pulloppillil of Bongaigaon led a team of
health workers and church leaders into camps located in
his diocese Aug. 3-4. Missionaries of Charity sisters were
included on the medical teams.
As the good-will mission was in progress,
violence flared Aug. 4-5. Local officials declared a curfew
in Bijni and Chirang as four people were killed in clashes,
bringing the death toll to 62 since the violence first
A blast was reported in Baska district in which
three people were injured.
The renewed violence came after relative calm
was restored in the strife-torn districts.
The fighting led officials of the Bongaigaon
Diocese to ask a local school to postpone a peace rally
planned for Aug. 6, Father D'Silva told Catholic News
Meanwhile, retired Archbishop Thomas
Menamparampil of Guwahati also visited several camps in
Contributing to this report was Anto Akkara in
Tags: India Interreligious Indian Catholics Catholic-Muslim relations