Caritas India trains tribal and Muslim community leaders to promote peace in Assam

November 22, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

The goal is to re-establish harmony between the two communities, divided by communal violence in July. Unrest left 88 people dead, 400,000 people displaced. In addition to training, Caritas provided 6,000 kg of rice and mosquito nets to 2,000 families living in refugee camps set up by the Diocese of Bongaigaon.

Tribal women in AssamNew Delhi, November 21, 2012: Caritas India has trained about 100 community leaders from the Bodo tribe and Muslim community. The Catholic social service, which helps victims irrespective of religious, ethnic or caste differences, took this step in the wake of communal violence that broke out back in July. Its goal is to restore harmony and peace in the area.

Once trained, “community leaders will inspire their respective communities to go back to their villages and engage in peaceful relations,” said Patrick, a Caritas official.

Violence between members of the Bodo tribe and Muslim settlers in Assam left 88 people dead. An additional 400,000 were forced to flee their homes.

Working with the Bongaigaon Social Service Society in the Diocese of Bongaigaon, Caritas handed out mosquito nets and 6,000 kg of rice to 2,000 families living in 10 local refugee camps. Members of the association set up recreational facilities for children and provided basic health care on an ongoing basis.

However, things are far from normal at present. Some camps hold more than 6,000 people, not all registered with the authorities. “Regular” camps get government aid, but those that are unregistered, i.e. the majority, rely on donations. Meanwhile, people in the camps are still counting their losses (homes, land and other assets).

Violence broke out overnight on 21-22 July when unidentified armed men killed four young men in Kokrajhar, an area inhabited by tribal Bodos. Out of revenge, some tribals attacked Muslims held responsible for the previous murders. Violence then broke out with groups attacking each other, setting cars, homes and schools on fire, with gunmen firing at individuals and crowds.

– asianews

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