Reformed souls

Posted on: Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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Ex-Assamese militants tell Amit Parashar that they now want to serve society and earn a living through farming and other activities they learnt as a part of rehabilitation programme in Bengaluru

Ex-militants in Assam are now engaged in farming and doing noble work to raise their families. They are not just thinking of ways to give better education to their children but are also trying to be a part of development in their region. Life has transformed in a big and positive way, for those who were once a part of militant organisations. Thanks to a rehabilitation programme organised in Art of Living campus, Bengaluru.

“Two hundred and forty one ex- militants did not surrender but army, para military forces and police arrested them. All of them were fed up from violence and they wanted to lead a normal life. They joined a month-long rehabilitation programme. It gave them confidence,” informed Sanjay Kumar Singh, CEO, government executive for the programme.

He added, “There was a point of time when they only believed in blood and violence. They were trained in handling weapons at a young age. The basic aim of the programme was to make them realise that nothing can be achieved through violence. They were taught to meditate.” Surprisingly, after attending the rehabilitation session, most of them were quick to realise and accept that whatever they did earlier was wrong. “They are mentally and physically fit now. Some of them feel guilty and regret why didn’t they leave the weapons earlier and attended any such programme,” said Singh.

The ex-militants are now ready to return to their villages. Almost 90 per cent are interested in making their living from agriculture, as they own lands. “Some have also opted to teach at the sessions. They will teach others how to meditate and will give them skill training. Apart from organic farming, they are trained for dairy jobs and to make paper bags. A few want to address mental and physical health issues of the people in Assam. We want them to be self-equipped with some knowledge that can help them earn a living, so that they think of getting back to their previous life. They also need a social status and confidence to feel like a part of society,” said Singh.

Ganesh Baro the ex-militant from Baksa district shared, “After I finished this program I realised I was wrong to hold the gun. Now I want to serve people. I will do something for the development of my region.”

Ganesh is not the only one. Dilip Kumar Nath from Sonitpur district, Sashi Ahom from Dibrugarh and Balen Thakoria from Kamrup district also have plans to work for the betterment of society.

Shyamanta Handique from Sonitpur said, “I am thankful to God for this second life. I regularly do yoga, mental exercises and meditation.”

Twenty two-year-old Ratul Boras plans to join politics and win the hearts of people. Amarendra had similar plans. “It is remarkable that through few weeks of training, the youth are ready to return to the mainstream society and are clear about what they want to do,” ended Singh.

Source: The Pioneer

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