Monday, April 6, 2009

Was forced to run naked,but now trying to run for Parliament.



A victim of circumstance, she has emerged as a symbol of hope and pride.

This is the story of Laxmi Orang, an Adivasi girl from Assam.
Stripped naked and brutally assaulted by a violent mob in broad daylight, she had to run for her life in Guwahati on November 24, 2007. The barbaric incident, captured graphically on TV, which shocked the nation, took place when this young adivasi girl travelled 258 km from her village to the State capital for the first time to take part in a rally by the All- Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) to demand Scheduled Tribe status for the adivasis of Assam.


Traumatised by the brutal and barbaric attack, she disappeared into the fleeing crowd after a middle- aged local resident came to her rescue and took off his own shirt to help the girl cover herself. However, with her family rallying behind her, Laxmi Orang emerged from the ordeal a stronger and more determined woman.


Ms. Orang subsequently turned down jobs offered by the Assam government twice after the shameful incident in the central Beltola locality of the capital city.
She declined to accept ex-gratia of Rs. one lakh offered to her by the state government as compensation. The gutsy woman even refused to open official mail sent to her.
Ms. Orang, who has three educated unemployed brothers at home at Japowbari Orang Basti near Biswanath Chariali in Sonitpur district, declined the government offers at a cost, because it was a time when she desperately needed a job.


Today Laxmi has overcome the trauma and has plunged into politics - she has filed her papers to be a candidate for the April 23 parliamentary elections from Tezpur. She is the nominee of the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), a party led by perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal.



Prior to the Beltola incident, Ms. Orang was a daily wage labourer making Rs. 40 a day, who dreamt of saving up enough money to do a vocational course in knitting and tailoring. Poverty had forced her to discontinue schooling after studying up to Class X; her plight was such that she had to share a single kerosene lamp with her three brothers to study at night.
“I never dreamt of joining politics. But the incident at Beltola has prompted me to embark on this mission. I will devote my full energy to taking forward the struggle of my community for scheduled tribe status and the uplift of all poor and downtrodden people in my constituency. I will not rest till my mission is accomplished.”
Pitted against Congress heavyweight and sitting MP Mani Kumar Subba, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term, Ms. Orang is now busy reaching out to voters.
From morning till night, she and her core campaign team — father Deba Orang and brothers Raju, Rajen and Ramen — go door to door explaining to voters why Ms. Orang deserves to represent them in Delhi. The response, they say, is overwhelming.

“Everybody knows about my plight...my case is a true reflection of the injustice and apathy towards the marginalised sections of society,” Laxmi said even as she hopped out of a car to address a small roadside meeting. “I want to represent and do something positive for the people of Assam, especially for women from marginalised communities who are still looked down upon,” she said with a glint in her eyes.

She may have a problem, though. Going by the voters’ list, she is 18, and you have to be 25 to contest. Her nomination paper says the school dropout is 25, but the AUDF is taking no chances - Laxmi’s father Deba Orang also filed his nomination as a substitute AUDF candidate in case Laxmi’s papers are rejected.


“Winning or losing is part of the game...but I want to fight for justice and according ST status to my community, besides all other communities who are facing neglect,” Laxmi said. Even if Laxmi’s candidature is accepted, her electoral debut is not going to be easy.
Let us salute her courage and determination to fight back after such a horrific and traumatic experience.
Edited on 10 th April 2009; The nomination of Laxmi Orang was rejected as she was found to be under age
compiled from The Hindu and Morungexpress.com

5 comments:

  1. Who did that to her ? And why ?

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  2. Kislay, welcome here.
    You can click the links and see the story. There was violence in the City and in the melee a mob did that to her. Why..... I do not know.I can only guess.

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  3. I have been here before , this is not my first time :) A Mob could have done that . In our country, mobs are quite capable of pulling off anything .

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  4. that's the spirit. those who derobed her - were they booked? or do they have political protection?

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  5. Yes kpj, I liked the spirit too,but unfortunately her nomination was rejected as she was under age. Were the culprits booked? Yes a case is going on as per my information but will there be enough legal evidence to punish the culprtis? unlikely

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