New Year, New Challenges

Like many other times, during past two and a half decades, the year 2016 has not left behind any good memories. In fact, it departed on the saddest ever note, leaving behind heart wrenching stories of blinded eyes. The number of those disabled and wounded with bullets and pellets is far higher than ever before in one year. Some of the disabled will not be able to fend for themselves, and they will need a lifelong support. Looking at the trail of agony, pain and problems that we faced in the year gone by, the year 2017 poses far bigger challenges for the people in general and the civil society formations in particular. Minus some write-ups in the newspapers and some individual responses, the society by and large has forgotten about an organized rehabilitation of the victims of the violence during five month long uprising, after the 8 July 2016. So far the state administration has been totally indifferent towards the pain and agony of the citizens of the state. Surprisingly, it has been maintaining total silence over rehabilitation of thousands of injured civilians. It has not come up with any elaborate scheme for the rehabilitation of over hundred students and youth, almost blinded and over 1100 with impaired vision. Out of the dozen of children pelleted to blindness only four victims under sharp media gaze and publicity were taken outside the state for treatment. The Ministry of Home Affairs as against the state administration has woken up to its responsibilities and has sanctioned one-time welfare grant of Rs 1 crore for the CRPF men injured in the uprising in the state. It has drawn up a comprehensive scheme for the seriously injured paramilitary personals. Sadly enough the state administration, if the news leaked to the press is to be trusted, has is no proposal for rehabilitation of the pellet victims. It has no plans to ensure education for the children with impaired vision or creating a boarding school for children fired with pellets in eyes, and providing monetary compensation for 95 civilians and two cops killed in the uprising. There is no denying that the state has a vibrant civil society that has a history of waking up during the crisis, and face challenges upfront. It is time for the civil society to wake up to yet another clarion call and make organized efforts for rehabilitating sufferers of 2016 violence.

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