Survivor: Durga Rani

Durga Rani spent three and a half years in a detention centre in Assam.

*All names and personal details have been changed or beeped to protect the survivors’ identity.spent three and a half years in a detention centre in Assam.

Q- Can we use this recording for organizational and administrative work?

A- Yes, you are allowed.

Q- What is your name?


Q- Where is birthplace?

A- It is in [REDACTED]. 

Q- Do you recall anything memorable regarding your birthplace, like any marriage ceremony, Puja celebration, any accident you encountered, or the school where you have studied?

A- There was no School in our area, there was a school at [REDACTED], which was 5 km away from my village, as we were children we couldn’t travel that far, that is why one of my villager used to teach a few children in his home privately, we had to write on banana leaves with ink provided, once that teacher had done a mischievous act that is why he was removed. 

Q- Do you remember the name of the teacher?

A- No, I do not remember. It’s been a long time.

Q- Haven’t you gone to the marriage of your friends?

A- I do not go usually, as my home and my husband’s home is very nearby, one of my friends home was nearby, so I went to her marriage, 

Q- What is your friend’s name?

A- Name of my friend is XXX and her husband’s name is XXX. 

Q- When did you learn about NRC?

A- I do not remember so many things these days. 

Q- What are the harassments you have gone through during the process of NRC, or which places you have gone to for Hearing?

A- At first when I went near XXX, he provided me with a document but it didn’t work. Thereafter, XXX provided me with a document but it also didn’t work. Then I went to Delhi. 

Q- Before how many days from going to Detention Camp you have learnt that you will have to go to Detention camp?

A- I learned about this 1 month ago. 

Q- For how many days you were in the Detention Camp?

A- I was in Detention Camp for nearly 3-3.5 years. 

Q- How were the foods served there?

A- Rice was good, but vegetables were bad. In the morning 1 rooti and sugar free tea was provided, I had to eat rooti with sugar, rice was served at 10 pm with any kind of vegetable and Dal, again rice was provided at 4 pm, and nothing was provided at night. 

Q- How did you survive there?

A- We didn’t have to starve there, the houses we stayed there were concrete buildings, we were provided 4 blankets for 4 beds, during the winter the government didn’t provide us anything special, outsider people provided us two fine blankets and pillows. 

Q- How were the toilet bathroom facilities?

A- There was a toilet inside the room, as we were not allowed to come outside after 4 pm, there were 6 urinals, and two toilets, overall facilities were good.

Q- Were medicines provided to you?

A- All necessary medicines were provided to me, my health condition became good while living there, if I sometimes suffer from aches in my stomach or head, there were doctors to provide medicine. 

Q- How were the behaviours of the people inside the Detention Camp?

A- Overall behaviour was good, as we were all women. 

Q- How was the condition of your family in your absence?

A-  As I was there inside so I didn’t know what happened here.

Q- Did your son ever go to meet you there?

A- My son went to meet me there, my daughter and daughter in law also went to meet me.

Q- What about your grandson and granddaughters?

A- My granddaughter also went to meet once, as I don’t have so many relatives, I have one son and daughter only. 

Q- How did you come out from Detention Camp?

A- At a distinguished place my name was asked and written, then I was asked to go to a place, those people were from our community, they do job there, once my son also went there to see the names, but my name was not mentioned, but just before the one week of my release my name was mentioned and I was told that I can go out. Then I was called with my name, XXX for release. Two other inmates were also released along with me, three of us were out.

Q- As you are released on bail, can you tell us what is the amount of money you have paid for release bond?

A- I have no idea. 

Q- Are you her son Biswanath?

A- Yes.

Q- What was the condition of your mind when you were in Detention Camp?

A- In the beginning, I felt bad. Later on I lived there in a friendly manner with the other inmates, sometimes I felt bad and sometimes good. 

Q- Do you remember anything memorable from Detention Camp?

A- No.

Q- Did your name appear in the final NRC?

A- Name is left out. 

Q- Do you remember any misbehaviour of the NRC or FT officials?

A- I don’t remember any misbehaviour. During the time of NRC my son has done all the official work and I was in Detention Camp. 

Q- What is your estimated expense during the whole process?

A- We have spent a lot of money during the last five years; we have to go to Kajalgaon every 2-3 months. We fought a case for 5 years, once I was told to appear along with the Gaonburha and some other people of my village. Our Gaonburha is very old, so we hired a vehicle for Rs. 800 and went there. I, along with my son, Gaonburha were four in number, after the discussion we were told to wait outside, the lawyer told us that as he had two other cases, so he will see our Case after completing those. My son said that it is better that we come back on any other day later on, so we came back as the sun was going to set, we were very hungry as we didn’t eat anything in the morning. After one month’s notice was served to me, and I learnt that my case was transferred to [REDACTED]. I was informed that I will have to appear on an appointed date. One female lawyer accompanied us, I was waiting at the back side of the car, and my son went there along with the lawyer. One lady Police told my son secretly that don’t bring your mother here otherwise she will be arrested today, my son told me that we will have to return back, so we came back to the car. The lady police also told my son to keep me far from home for a few days, thus I used to stay out of home for a long time, during the night also I used to stay in other people’s homes. One day I went to one of my sister’s homes. I thought that I could go to the toilet and I could have tea also, but unfortunately I got trapped and arrested. Then I was brought to the Police station, Police informed my son as he went for work. My son came there and later I was taken to [REDACRED]. I thought that my son will take me back after solving the problem, we have taken money with us, I brought Rs. 4000 and my son also brought money with him, so we were tension free, just before the sun set my son told me that let us go to a hotel and eat something, I was very much hungry. In the hotel Dal rice was provided, but I couldn’t eat food properly out of fear, the food was getting stuck again and again. After eating, my son informed me that he will be taken to Kokrajhar, then I understood that I was arrested, they (my son and others) returned back home, and I was brought to Kokrajhar. I don’t know the roads used for travelling. I felt bad for a long time, I used to cry a lot due to which I nearly lost my eyesight. I got back my eyesight after the treatment from the side of the authority. 

Q- Have you got help from any organization?

A- After I returned back 5 kg rice, 2 kg dal and vegetables were provided once.

Q- Was it after you returned back from Detention Camp?

A- Yes, 50 kg rice, 2 kg Dal, 2 kg oil, 5 kg vegetables and biscuit packets were provided during the time of Corona Pandemic. We received nothing after that. 

Q- Is there any change in your life before you went to Detention Camp and now?

A- My body is getting weaker day by day after I returned back from Detention Camp, I have to appear before the Police station every week with a photo, thus every week I have to spend Rs. 50. I have printed a lot of photos during the last 1-1.5 years. 

Q- How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected your family?

A- I have taken a vaccine in my village. It has no negative impact on my health.

Q- Were you charged for vaccination?

A- No, I was not charged.