GOSSAIGAON, Feb 12: David Besra, president of the Santal Tribal Welfare Committee, emphasised the dire situation faced by approximately 243 families in the Indo-Bhutan border villages who have been unable to return to their homes since the 1996-98 Bodo-Santal ethnic clash. This conflict resulted in the destruction of their homes, property, and land, leading them to seek shelter in the Kachugaon Refugee Camp.
Besra highlighted that these families have been enduring sub-human living conditions in the refugee camp for the past two and a half decades, desperately hoping to return to their villages. However, the government’s response has been negligent, which is deeply concerning for the Adivasi people.
Despite the inmates’ efforts to return home, they have faced obstacles such as an FIR lodged against nine inmates by Binay Basumatary, president of Nabin Nagar VCDC, at Kachugaon Police Station.
Besra emphasised that despite repeated appeals to BTR chief Pramod Boro, BTR Land & Revenue Department, EM Ranjit Basumatary, and Wilson Hasda, the only nominated executive member of BTR from the Santal Community, their pleas have gone unheard.
The Santal Tribal Welfare Committee issued a stern warning that if the ruling BJP-led government in the state and the centre do not address the refugees’ demands to return home before the Lok Sabha Election-2024, they will boycott the election, and the ruling government will face dire consequences.