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Assam agony to home hope

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ARTI SAHULIYAR Ranchi Published 03.04.08, 12:00 AM

Ranchi, April 2: Leaving back her traumatising day in Assam on November 24, 2007, 16-year-old Lakshmi Oraon arrived at the state capital today, oozing confidence and wearing a smile of hope.

Suffering three hours of abject agony of being paraded naked in Assam for raising her voice in demand for ST status for the tribals there, Lakshmi is in town seeking admission for Intermediate course. She met the authorities of St Xavier’s College and Nirmala College to pursue higher education after the matric results were declared.

The fire was in her belly as she said: “I am going to release a book, Jago Adivasi Jago, written by K. Tirkey and Salkhan Murmu, on April 20 at the Social Development Centre. I was overwhelmed when Murmu said my incident has a mention in the book.”

“After the gruesome incident, I was locked at home for four months. Then I had made up my mind to write the matriculation examination,” said Lakshmi, adding: “I will continue to fight for ST status for tribals in Assam, for which I had raised my voice and was paraded naked.”

However, Lakshmi has decided to make Ranchi her home and does not wish to return to Assam. She belonged to a village called Joppabari in Sunitpur district of Assam, but her forefathers — belonging to ST category — were from Jharkhand.

“In Assam, the tribals are referred to as tea tribes, thus denying their right to be ST,” said the president of Jharkhand Disom Party Salkhan Murmu, who along with his wife Sumitra Murmu, had taken up her cause and had gone to Guwahati to bring her here.

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