The village residents light 1000 earthen lamps in front of the memorial in the memory of the victims Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: Every year on January 13, Assam celebrates Uruka, followed by Bhogali Bihu. But for the residents of Kekerikuchi village in Baksa district, this day is a painful reminder of an incident that shook their lives forever. Instead of celebrating with the rest of the state, they mourn their loss.

On January 13, 1998, 17 residents of this village were gunned down by insurgents. Since then, the residents have never observed Uruka or Bihu.

Although it has been over 20 years, the village’s children still do not know the joy of Bhogali Bihu or the taste of pithas made in every other household.

On Tuesday, January 13, 1998, at around 8.10 pm, an extremist group shot dead 17 members of three families

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A young girl who lost seven members from her family told the media, “On that ill-fated night, I lost my grandma, my uncles, aunts, my brother, and my sister.”

A woman who lost her brother-in-law, sister-in-law and mother-in-law during the shoot-out told the media, “its sad that our children do not know how to mark the rituals and the merry-making of Uruka and Magh Bihu as we mourn our fallen on this day.”

Instead of feasting and lighting Mejis (thatch, bamboo, and banana leaf structure), the residents here light 1,000 earthen lamps in front of the memorial dedicated to the victims.

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