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Arvi Krishnaswamy

Entrepreneur and Tech Executive

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On November 24th, 2007, a young Adivasi girl was stripped naked on the streets of Beltola, Guwahati in Assam, and several others Adivasis were beaten up and tortured by a mob of local residents, leaving one person dead and several injured. The locals claim the Adivasis started the trouble by damaging vehicles and breaking shops in the area. The conflicts between the city people and the tribals has been around for a while now to the point where it doesnt matter who started it first since ultimately, common people suffer.

I cant quite describe in words how upsetting these stories were when I read them and saw some of the videos on youtube. Has the very fabric of humanity been torn to such shreds?

But I just read this - On January 30th, the Adivasi student leaders shall be taking the girl along with them to a court hearing in front of Justice (retd) R.K. Manisena Singh Inquiry Commission. I'm sure that the human rights violators will be dealt with. But for the girl, these are difficult and painful scars, and I can only hope that time will be healer, and I wish her all the strength and fortitude to overcome the challenges ahead.

I also learnt today about the identity of the man who saved her from the mobs while she ran through the streets. His name is Bhagiram Barman.

Bhagiram Barman runs a teashop in Guwahati. For those of you who may have seen the 90's flick Hero, Bhagiram comes across to me much more of the dubious Dustin Hoffman than charming Andy Garcia.

But when the girl was running down the streets, being harassed and beaten by the angry mob, it was Bhagiram who had the courage to offer her the shirt he was wearing and give her cover so she could escape down an alleyway. Other people in nearby houses were too afraid of the mob to help her, and it must have taken immense courage and valor for Bhagiram. I dont know much else about Bhagiram, or the girl, whose anonymity has understandably been maintained, but I am deeply touched by this incident.

This reminds me of another sad incident last year - one of attempted female infanticide, where a dog rescued a 2-day old baby allegedly buried alive by her grandparents in Andhra Pradesh. 2-day old. Buried alive. What is this world coming to?