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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2644

Family members waiting for the return of missing ones

Raymond R Kharmujai – Asian Tribune

Shillong, 31 May, ( It’s been years for the family members of Blebot Koch and Motingwell Thongni family members in North East India, who are waiting for the return of their missing ones back homes.

Similar to the family members’ of Koch and Thongni, hundred other families are also waiting in their respective homes for the return of the missing ones. None knows the fate of such persons - whether they are even alive, or in what physical and mental condition they are in?

In Meghalaya, the State police have recorded more than a hundred person under the ‘missing persons’ list. The list ends with the reminder that the person mentioned is ‘not yet traced’.

In this way, the family of Motingwell Thongni of Mawkhar village Riangdo, West Khasi Hills shares a painful relation with the family of Blebot Koch Zik Zak of West Garo Hills. Both are complainant,s who have their dear ones missing for years.

The family of Motingwell Thongni lost 13 year old Dwelsi Mora, while Blebot Koch’s family lost 27 year old Tulong Koch years back. Both are yet to be traced.

Additional Superintendent of East Khasi Hills district Police, M. Kharkrang said most of the person on the police’s missing persons list is from 2001 when the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) was at its peak.

“Many dead bodies, of persons who went missing, were recovered during that period, when insurgency was at its peak here,” the Additional Superintendent of Police who led many successful counter-militancy operations against the HNLC pointed out.

He said some of the bodies that were recovered were from forest areas and buried inside a septic tanks. The identification process is also long drawn. These highly decomposed or skeleton remains are sent for DNA testing in Hyderabad, Kharkrang added.

However, he said, most of the family members of such missing persons do visit the police stations ‘often’ to inquire about their missing ones.

“We do not close the file of such persons as long as possible, even though the thought of such persons being dead do cross the mind”, Kharkrang added.

The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) terms the fate of missing persons and the suffering of their family members the ‘most serious humanitarian problems’ caused by ‘armed conflict or internal violence’. It calls for ‘renewed attention’ on the issue.

With the police trying all efforts to trace the missing persons, the family members of those missing persons still hope that the missing ones return home one-day.

- Asian Tribune -

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