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Ailing camp inmate dies

Guwahati, Jan. 29: A primary school teacher who had been taking shelter at a relief camp at Borpothar in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district since violence that broke out on December 27 died today because of the plummeting mercury.

Areng Rengma, 35, fled his Borlangso village home with wife Nishen and their three children after suspected militants of the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT) attacked adjoining Khowanigaon and gunned down four persons including the gaonburah (headman). Two KPLT cadres also died after they clashed with the Naga Rengma Hills Protection Force, another militant group.

Areng, a tuberculosis patient, fell ill in the camp on January 6 and was admitted to Dimapur civil hospital in neighbouring Nagaland, about 40km away. He died in the hospital at 5am today.

“He was suffering from fever and looked weak when he came here (the camp). Doctors in the Dimapur hospital found that he was suffering from tuberculosis and prescribed medicines. He came back to the camp, but last week he again fell sick. His condition deteriorated, maybe because he had to sleep on the floor and the weather is cold. He was again taken to the Dimapur hospital where he died today,” Berchang Rengma, information in-charge of the camp at Borpothar Girls’ High School, told this correspondent over phone from the camp.

Borpothar is about 80km from Diphu, which is about 220km from here.

There are 245 inmates, mostly from Borlangso village, taking shelter in the school. Another 1,061 villagers are camping at Borpothar Lower Primary School and Borpothar High School, about 1km away.

This is the second death in the relief camp since they took shelter. On January 12, a 110-year-old village headman of Borlangso, Intpheva Rengma, had died. “The gaonburah was old but he died because of cold weather and the trauma they underwent,” Berchang said.

Areng’s body was today taken to his village Borlangso for last rites. “His house was burnt down by goons after they fled the village. The government needs to support his wife and children,” his relative, Athang Rengma, said.

Altogether 3,770 people, including 911 children, belonging to both Karbi and Rengma communities, were displaced after violence broke out at Khowanigaon and its neighbouring villages on January 27. Tension deepened after nine decomposed bodies of Karbi people were found near Dimapur on January 4.

The sub-divisional officer of Bokajan, Bipul Saikia, today said from Diphu that over 1,306 displaced people were still in the three camps and the administration was having a tough time to send them back to their native villages. The administration had earlier set a deadline of January 20 to send them back, but the inmates refused to go back, citing security concerns.


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