Will Pratima Ray get justice?

Nirban Ray

On August 19, 2021, Harendranath Ray, an old Koch-Rajbongshi man from Kurirpar (nearby Gauripur) of Dhubri district committed suicide as he couldn’t bear the brunt of the humiliation of her daughter suffered in the hands of Assam police in its custody at Gauripur Police station. His daughter, a Koch Rajbongshi woman of about 30 years was so brutally and barbarically tortured by Gauripur Police in their police station that she was unable to stand on her feet to walk out from the police station. Seeing this inhuman brutalization of his own daughter in a police station and realising the utter helplessness and powerlessness of his identity the old man chose to end his life.

His daughter Pratima Ray was working as a maid in the house of a district magistrate of Dhubri. When it was found that a “cup” was lost from his house, the magistrate relieved Pratima from work on suspicion of theft. He then complained to the police and since then Pratima and her father Harendranath Ray had to go through enormous everyday tortures as the Gauripur Police suspected Pratima of stealing the “cup” and often called them for questioning. For more than ten days the everyday torture of Assam police to the poor powerless family continued.

And on August 19, violating even the basic minimum dignity of a woman, Assam Police exercised its savagery on Pratima Ray with pride inside the Gauripur Police station in order to appease the Dhubri district magistrate- which although could not bring the lost “cup” back but it did succeed in the institutional murder of Pratima Ray’s father, a helpless, powerless Koch Rajbongshi old man.

This dreadful incident of barbaric brutality of Assam police to a Koch Rajbongshi woman and her father as usual was not able to get any attention from the mainland Assamese media and the Assamese civil society. But the almost unnoticed case received a little momentum when a few Koch Rajbongshi organisations and civil society groups approached Pratima Ray for support and they also initiated some protests for justice.

But, will Pratima Ray get justice? In fact, do the likes of Pratima Ray, a peripheral woman from a marginalized community ever get justice? And given the socio-economic and political situation of Koch Rajbongshis of Assam in general and of Koch Rajbongshi women in particular, it is rather imperative to ask – will the Koch Rajbongshis of Assam ever get justice? The question of justice for Pratima Ray is not therefore merely a question of juridical justice of an individual case alone. On the contrary, justice for Pratima Ray is a quagmire of lost dignity of the community she belongs and the identity she possesses.

Meghalaya Daughter Harolyne Koch Shadap wins the Miss Koch International title 2018

MKI 3Guwahati: Harolyne Koch Shadap from Meghalaya, India was crowned as the Miss Koch International(MKI) 2018 in the mega final of the event  which was held on 15th December in Dhulabari, Nepal. The moment was witnessed by hundreds of people from  both India and Nepal who gathered for the glitzy event of Saturday.

Horolyne Koch Shadap works as an Assistant Lecturer and is a Post graduate from North Eastern Hill University, Shillong. Prior to winning the MKI title, she also won the title of MKI Meghalaya in the Meghalya Audition of the event. MKI is the first ever beauty pageant in South Asia which has brought together the Koches of the region in an international platform. The auditions of the event were organized in Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal besides Nepal.

Pratima Singha from West Bengal, Indian became the first runners up and Sonali Rajbanshi from Jhapa, Nepal became the Second runners up in MKI 2018.

The MKI has been seen as the most important event and initiative in uniting the Koches of South Asia in the recent past. The koches (also known as Rajbanshi in some parts of South Asia) are considered as the largest ethnic group in South Asia.  The organizer of the MKI 20018 was Jhapa Media House Pvt. Ltd.

স্বপ্না বৰ্মণ-এটি আভাস

নীলিম অনুৰাগ

স্বপ্না বৰ্মণ ৰাতিটোৰে ভিতৰতে হৈ পৰিল এটি চিনাকি নাম৷ কালি এছিয়ান গেমছৰ হেপ্টাথলন প্ৰতিযোগিতাত সোণ জয় কৰি দেশৰ নয়নৰ মণি হৈ পৰা স্বপ্নাৰ জীৱন সংগ্ৰামৰ বিষয়ে বহুতেই নাজানে৷

পশ্চিমবঙ্গৰ জলপাইগুড়ি চহৰৰ পৰা প্ৰায় ১০ কিলোমিটাৰ নিলগৰ ঘোষপাৰাত ঘৰ কোচ ৰাজবংশী জনগোষ্ঠীয় ছোৱালী স্বপ্না বৰ্মণৰ৷

অতি দুখীয়া পৰিয়ালৰ ছোৱালী স্বপ্না৷ দেউতাক পঞ্চানন বৰ্মণ ৰিক্সাচালক আছিল, কিন্তু প্ৰায় পাঁচ বছৰ পূৰ্বে পক্ষাঘাত হৈ শয্যাগত হৈ পৰে৷ মাক বাসনা বৰ্মণে চাহবাগানত কাম কৰি আৰু তাইৰ পুৰস্কাৰৰ পইচাৰে চলাবলগীয়া হৈছিল পৰিয়ালটি৷ আনহাতে স্বপ্নাৰ দুয়োখন ভৰিতে ৬টাকৈ আঙুলি৷ যাৰ বাবেও যথেষ্ট অসুবিধাৰ সন্মুখীন হৈছিল তাই৷ সাধাৰণ স্পৰ্টছ্ জোতা ফিট নহয়, ভৰিৰ বিষ হয়৷ ইফালে নিজাকৈ অৰ্ডাৰ দি কিনাৰো সামৰ্থ্য নাই৷ তথাপিও মনোবল কমা নাছিল স্বপ্নাৰ, ঘৰুৱা সমস্যাবোৰক বাধা হ’বলৈ দিয়া নাছিল তাই কোনোদিনে৷ যাৰ ফল কালি দেখা গ’ল সুদূৰ ইণ্ডোনেছিয়াৰ জাকাৰ্তাৰ এছিয়ান গেমছৰ খেলপথাৰত৷ হেপ্টালিট স্বপ্না বৰ্মণে আজুৰি আনিলে সোণ৷

এথলেটিক্সৰ কঠিনতম বিভাগ হেপ্টাথলন ৷ এছিয়াৰ বহুতো নামী দামী হেপ্টাথলিটসকলক হৰুৱাই সোণৰ পদক জিতাটো সহজ নাছিল স্বপ্নাৰ বাবে৷ আনহাতে এছিয়ান গেমছৰ পূৰ্বে পিঠিৰ বিষৰ বাবে জিৰণিও ল’বলগীয়া হৈছিল কিছুদিন৷ আকৌ কালিৰ ইভেণ্টৰ পূৰ্বে প্ৰচণ্ড দাঁতৰ বিষতো ভূগি আছিল স্বপ্না৷ কিন্তু কঠোৰ পৰিশ্ৰম আৰু প্ৰবল আত্মবিশ্বাসেৰে এই সকলো প্ৰতিবন্ধতাকো সহজ কৰি তুলিলে স্বপ্নাই৷

১০০ মিটাৰ হাৰ্ডলছ্, হাইজাম্প, লং জাম্প, শটপুট, ২০০ মিটাৰ, জেভলিন থ্ৰ’ আৰু ৮০০ মিটাৰ দৌৰ – এই ৭ টা ইভেণ্ট মিলি হয় হেপ্টাথলিন প্ৰতিযোগিতা। হাইজাম্প আৰু জেভলিন থ্ৰ’ত সকলোৰে আগত থাকে স্বপ্না। শটপুট আৰু লংজাম্পত দ্বিতীয় স্থান লাভ কৰে। যোৱা বছৰ উৰিষ্যাত অনুষ্ঠিত এছিয়ান এথলেটিক্স চেম্পিয়নশিপতো সোণৰ পদক অৰ্জন কৰিছিল স্বপ্নাই৷


Guwahati, 05.11.2016: The President of India had promulgated the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Ordinance on 27th January, 1996, which was re-promulgated three times, granting the Koch-Rajbongshi community of Assam, S.T(P) status for one year. After 20 years of dilly-dallying by the Central and State Govt., holding numerous talk’s right up to the level of the Union Home Minister, the State Govt. has now appointed a senior Police Officer as a Mediator to liaise with the organizations demanding S.T status, which is nothing but a big farce and an insult to the Koch-Rajbongshi community. Nothing further needs to be done in regard to the Scheduling of the Koch-Rajbongshi community, other than to introduce the Bill in the Parliament for voting, for the following among other reasons:


PIL to remove Encroachment from Chilarai Park at North Guwahati”

Guwahati, 05.02.2018: A Public Interest Litigation has been filed before the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court by senior and leading citizens of Guwahati, for the removal of encroachment from Chilarai Park at Amingaon, North Guwahati, including protection and upkeep of the said park premises, wherein an 18 ft. tall bronze statue of Biswa Mahabir Chilarai is also present.

  Chilarai Park was built around 1992 in memory of legendary Koch General and Dewan (Prime Minister) Sukladhwaj, popularly known as ‘Chilarai’, who is respected and revered by the people of Assam and beyond, not only for his legendary military exploits but also for – (i) rebuilding the Kamakhya temple in 1565 A.D, which was supposedly destroyed by Kalapahar; (ii) for giving protection and patronage to Srimanta Sankardev, for which he could start a social reformation movement and a renaissance of literature in the region, (iii) for building roads under his leadership from Koch Beehar to Lakhimpur and from Guwahati to Silchar over which State and National Highways have now come up.

Therefore, Chilarai Park not only holds great historical significance to the people of Assam, but also a landmark of North Guwahati, which attracts tourists and locals alike. The resident’s of Greater Guwahati requires such public and green spaces where they can rewind and refresh from the grind of city life. It is particularly important for children to play under the open sky in such public parks, for their overall growth.

  The petitioners came to learn from media reports and through investigation that the Assam Police (Traffic Branch), Kamrup district have illegally encroached and set up an Outpost inside the Chilarai Park premises, including encroachment by an Auto stand. The park is also not properly maintained by the district administration and has turned into a den of anti-social elements. Many organizations including the petitioners had earlier submitted memorandum with the D.C Kamrup rural district among others, including holding meetings, but to no avail.

Being aggrieved the petitioners, namely – (i) Sri. Atul Chandra Talukdar, retired HoD, Political Science, Arunachal University, (ii) Sri. Jogeswar Bora, retired Judge of the Designated Court, Assam, (iii) Sri. Nalini Ranjan Ray, senior officer of State Bank of India and (iv) Sri. Arup Jyoti Das, writer and Director of CKRSD, have filed the present PIL praying for removal of encroachment and upkeep of Chilarai Park and the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court has admitted the PIL and issued notice to Government of Assam. Advocate Santanu Borthakur and Vikram Rajkhowa appeared for the petitioners.

Arup Jyoti Das

Director, CKRSD

Nalini Ranjan Ray joins as the Director of CKRSD

Nalini Ranjan Ray (middle) with Vikram Rajkhowa (left) and Arup Jyoti Das (right)

Guwahati: Koch Rajbanshi scholar and social worker Nalini Ranjan Ray has joined as the new Director(honorary) of Centre for Koch Rajbanshi Studies and Development (CKRSD), a Guwahati based Institute, which work among the Koch Rajbanshi community with the primary objective to ‘preserve’ and ‘promote’ their  rich culture, history, language, belief system and  socio-political rights. Ray took over the charge from former Director Arup Jyoti Das on July 22, 2018 at CKRSD office in the presence of Vikram Rajkhowa, Chairperson of CKRSD. Mr. Ray is an Ex-Service Officer from Indian Army and at present associated with Public Sector Bank in North East Circle (India) in Senior Management Grade.  He is a native of Darjeeling District of West Bengal and currently lives in Guwahati, Assam. Ray is the author of Koch Rajbanshi and Kamatapuri the truth unveiled . His recent publication work Merger of Erstwhile Cooch Behar is a compilation of important documents and correspondences related to merger this princely state with Indian dominion of India