The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘People pounced on me as I fell’
Mandini recuperates at GMCH. Picture by Eastern Projections

Fifteen-year old Mandini Tudu of Monai Tea Estate in Kokrajhar recounts how the city of her dreams left her shattered

I had always dreamt of visiting Guwahati. So, I was very excited when the local unit of the All Adivasi Students Association of Assam told me about the rally to be organised in the city on Saturday. I was not sure what the rally was for. Nor did I want to know. The fact that the programme would be in Guwahati was enough. I immediately agreed to participate, bunking classes. I am a student of Class X of Monai Chabagicha High School.

Early on Saturday, I, along with many others from Monai Tea Estate in Kokrajhar boarded the bus reserved by the association to take us to my dream city. It was my first visit and throughout the journey I was lost in thought. I had been told Guwahati was a vast place with big buildings and lots of cars.

We reached soon after noon and headed for the venue of the rally. After we alighted from the bus, we started to move in a procession. I was towards the end of a lengthy file of people and walked slowly, taking in all the sights and sounds of the city.

All of a sudden, the people ahead started to run. I followed. Turning back, I saw a group of people chasing us.

Suddenly, someone hit me on my leg from behind. As I fell to the ground, people pounced on me and started to hit me even as I cried for help and mercy. Fortunately, they did not strike me on my head or face. My frail body could not take the blows for long and I became unconscious. When I regained sense, I found myself here in Gauhati Medical College and Hospital with fractured legs. I also sustained injuries on my back and chest.

I have no complaints about the medical facilities here. But I long to go home to my parents. I know they are worried though they could not leave their work and come here.

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