Rehab home for widows, orphans of Assam's armed conflict
Guwahati | April 19, 2007 5:15:01 PM IST
The Assam government is setting up two rehabilitation homes for widows and orphans of the long-drawn armed conflict in the region, an effort aimed at prividing counselling, education and aiding the process towards becoming self-reliant.
"We have more than 1,000 such widows who lost their husbands either in militant attacks or were killed by security forces in anti-insurgency operations. The rehabilitation homes would accommodate even widows of militant leaders," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told journalists.
The Rehabilitation Centre for Widows and Orphans of Insurgency and Riot-Affected is being modelled on the lines of the worldwide SOS Children's Village.
"This would be a comprehensive home and the idea is basically to provide education to the orphans and help them stand on their own feet, besides helping the widows get vocational training for becoming economically independent," the chief minister said.
There are no official estimates about the number of orphaned children who lost their parents in either insurgency or ethnic riots in Assam.
"We shall also be having experts to counsel the inmates who still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders," Gogoi said.
Assam is a cauldron of separatist insurgency and ethnic clashes with an estimated 25,000 people killed and hundreds more maimed for life since the state's first rebel group, the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), was formed in 1979.
An estimated 20,000 people are still sheltered in makeshift relief camps since a bloody ethnic clash broke out in 1996 between tribal Bodos and the Adivasis in western Assam.
About 500 people were killed - most of them Adivasis - in the clashes that went on for months.
"We shall rope in experts to ensure that we are able to change the lives of these widows and orphans of insurgency or riots and help them start life afresh," the chief minister said.
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