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For this Assam village, Bhogali Bihu is a reminder of the massacre




In 1998, extremists killed 17 people on the night of Urukia, Bihu Threshold, in Kekerikuchi

Assam on Wednesday evening rediscovered the unbridled joy of Bhogali Bihu, the holiday festival after the harvest, after a short break. But a village in the Baksa state district was drowned out by sadness, recalling a massacre 23 years ago.

The people of Kekerikuchi, a village about 80km northwest of Guwahati, have never celebrated Magh or Bhogali Bihu since January 13, 1998. That night, a group of extremists fired their automatic rifles at the villagers after most others liked it. the whole State. in a field around a uruke fire and prepared for the annual feast.

Uruka is the threshold of Bhogali Bihu which includes a night of celebration and gathering in a structure similar to huts or bhelaghar that are burned to seek the blessings of the deities.

By the time the villagers realized what had struck them, 17 people from four families lay in a pool of blood, their bodies filled with bullets. The dead included children.

We have since abstained from celebrations in Magh Bihu. Instead, we offer 1,000 terrestrial bulbs and arrange naam-kirtan [devotional songs] in front of a memorial built for the 17 victims of mindless violence, said DJ Kalita, who had lost four members of his family.

No illegal organization was responsible for the massacre. The village and neighboring areas in the Tamulpur subdivision had been the site of the already disbanded Bodo Liberation tigers and the Boroland National Democratic Front.

The villagers said the children were born in Kekerikuchi in 1998 and then did not know what Magh Bihu is.

However, the holiday Bihu was swept across Assam in 2020 due to the Anti-Citizenship Act (Change) protest that spread from December 2019.

Mid-April Rongali or Bohag Bihu was also off the calendar that year due to the COVID-19 blockade.

In a way, the Bihu-related holiday is back in Assam after nearly two years since the 2019 Bohag Bihu, said Kailash Sarma, a Bihu program organizer in Guwahati.

Bird fighting

Traditional bird fights during Magh Bihu are unlikely to be staged this year due to fears of bird flu, though organizers have challenged a 2016 ban by the Gauhati High Court for bulbul fights.

A cloud of uncertainty is also over another tradition involving animals, buffalo fighting in central Assats Ahatguri, but there will be no community fishing in Kaziranga National Park, officials said.

Park authorities have established Section 144 limiting the assembly of four or more persons in the Bagori and Burapahar ranges of rhino habitat with a horn on 13 and 14 January,

People from near and far areas have been fishing in some of the park’s specified water bodies for years, but officials stressed that this has become a commercial activity for some.

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