Terror ravaged in Assam
to get counselling balm
By Maitreyee Boruah
Dec 10 (IANS) At 14, Kaustav Talukdar, a Class 9 student of
a school in Guwahati, simply does not know how he will lead
his life after his parents were killed in a bomb blast at
Ganeshguri, a busy market place in the heart of the city,
on Oct 30.
parents - mother Pranita and father Sunanda - were shopping
at Ganeshguri in the afternoon when the blast occurred. Both
were Indian Oil Corporation officials and in their 40s.
is the case with Sunita Sarma, 28, who lost her husband Sagar,
32, a carpenter, and their four-year-old daughter Moromi in
the Ganeshguri blast. Around 95 people were killed and over
300 injured when 12 coordinated blasts rocked Guwahati and
the western districts of Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon
in Assam state Oct 30 afternoon.
help is at hand for distraught relatives of bomb blast victims
to overcome the trauma and agony of the sudden demise of loved
ones. A group of trained young volunteers is all set to provide
psychological succour to families of such people in militancy-plagued
initiative of Peace Centre, a social service wing of the Guwahati
Gana Seva Society working for underprivileged people of Assam,
10 volunteers will begin providing psychological support to
the "terrorised" families to overcome the trauma
from Jan 1, 2009.
Centre, established in 2002 in Guwahati, mainly focuses on
fostering peace and harmony in the entire northeast region
the counselling wing of Peace Centre, the 10 volunteers have
been put through a special 20-day training.
Christine, director of the counselling wing, told IANS: "The
10 volunteers have been trained in psychological counselling
- focused on psychological first aid, emotional stabilisation
and post traumatic disorder."
counsellors are volunteers and get no remuneration.
programme will begin in Guwahati where blasts occurred in
three places - Ganeshguri, Panbazar and CJM court area.
sessions will be conducted among traders of the Ganeshguri
market who witnessed the blast from close quarters. The volunteers
will also go to schools to counsel students.
Guwahati, the volunteers plan to visit different places in
Assam to identify and help terrorized residents. Psychological
counselling is very important to ensure that the people do
not react negatively or do things that are impediments to
the natural process of growth of society," said Sister
Goswami, a school teacher and one of the 10 volunteers, told
IANS: "People of Assam have long witnessed death and
injuries to their near and dear ones in bomb blasts. Most
of them have no one to address their pain. Thus, I am happy
I would be of some help to the agonised people."
senior psychiatrist Jayanta Das, appreciating the initiative
of Peace Centre, said: "It will help the relatives of
victims of bomb blasts to discuss about their state of mind.
Moreover, volunteers will provide professional counselling
to the terror-affected people of Assam."
are no official estimates of the number of families that have
lost their members in either insurgency or ethnic riots in
has long been a cauldron of violence triggered by insurgency
and ethnic clashes, since the state's first rebel group, the
outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was formed
estimated 25,000 people have been killed and hundreds more
maimed for life since 1979," said a senior police official
to figures available with the Assam police, as many as 423
explosions had occurred in the state between 2002 and January
total of 928 civilians have been killed in these explosions,
mostly triggered by ULFA, added the official.
Boruah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)