Families of the 2008 Assam bombing victims light earthen lamps in their memory in Guwahati on Wednesday Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) organised a state-wide programme to pay tribute to the victims of the 2008 Assam bombings on Wednesday.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal attended the memorial held at one of the locations of the infamous blast — underneath the Ganeshguri flyover in Guwahati.

The date — October 30 — has come down in the history of Assam as ‘Black Friday’. Over 81 lives were lost and 540 injured in a series of blasts which ripped apart several places of the state including Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Guwahati.

In the city, the explosions took place in crowded areas of Fancy Bazar, Pan Bazar and Ganeshguri which led to the death of 41 people.

Reena Kalita, who lost her brother during the serial blasts in Ganeshguri, echoed the sentiments of all present there. “The family members of everyone present here wishes the death penalty of Ranjan Daimary [main accused]. Militant outfits are still roaming freely and Ranjan Daimary has still not faced any severe repercussions.”

A memorial ceremony was organised by AASU underneath the Ganeshguri flyover in Guwahati, which was attended by CM Sarbananda Sonowal, among others

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National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) chief Ranjan Daimary and nine others, who were accused of the bombings, were sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI special court in January earlier this year.

The incident took place in the blink of an eye, but the void left by the death of people has been forever etched in the hearts of the ones they left behind.

“Lighting a ceremonial lamp and holding a tribute ceremony are not enough to bring back my husband,” said the wife of a victim as she welled up recounting her story.

Her husband, who was one of the many injured, was admitted to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) with an injured kidney. “Government took up the expenses of 45 days of my husband and gave us Rs 50,000. But after this I had to take him to different hospitals including in Jorhat and Dibrugarh,” she said.

The woma’s husband suffered urinary tract disorders due to the injured kidney and after an operation, 19 urine dialysis and 11 kidney dialysis, he breathed his last on June 28, 2012, leaving his wife and three kids to fend for themselves. It’s been 11 years now, and she earns bread for the family by doing odd jobs and daily wage works.

Students from various colleges came to offer their respects during the memorial ceremony

More than a decade later, the impact of the blast left still reverberates, as a child who was only three years old when the blast killed her father now has to beg for a government job for her mother. “The love and affection which I wanted from my father was taken away from me in that fateful incident. Now, I wish that the government at least provides a stable job for my mother,” she added.

As the vigil came to an end, CM Sonowal said: “My deepest condolences to the lives lost in the horrific bomb blast which occurred on this day i 2008. On this day, we the people of Assam should pledge that we must come together against terrorism and build a terrorist-free Assam. We must pave the way for peace, progress and brotherhood in the state.”

Assam education minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya, who is also the minister of the Guwahati Development Department, was also present for the memorial along with MP Queen Oja, director general of police Kuladhar Saikia and police commissioner Deepak Kumar.

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