Tirap massacre
A view of the programme. Image credit - Northeast Now

The family and friends of those killed in the ‘Tirap massacre’ gathered at Dadam Village in Tirap district on Thursday and paid tribute to the 11 departed souls who lost their lives in the May 21 incident last year.

It was on this day last year that underground militants had gunned down sitting Khonsa West MLA Tirong Aboh, his 20-year-old son and 9 others in Tirap district, making it one of the darkest days in the history of Arunachal Pradesh.

The killings took place in the 12 Mile area of Tirap district when MLA Aboh was on his way to Khonsa, the district headquarters of Tirap, from Dibrugarh in Assam when militants opened fire at his four-vehicle convoy.

Besides Aboh and his 20-year-old son Longiam Aboh, the others killed in the militant attack included Matlam Aboh, Jalin Hakhun, Wangngoi Hakhun, Gamwang Hakhun, Wangngu Hakhun, Tangro Atoa, Poanhang Agi, Patwang Sumpa and Khundong Siksa.

The case, which remains inconclusive till date, is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Amid the lull of lockdown and following all social-distancing norms and other guidelines in regards to COVID9, the formal programme started with the lighting of candles and offering prayers for the deceased on their first death anniversary by the family members at the memorial ground in Dadam Village.

Self-composed prayer songs for the departed souls were performed by Manlang Agi, a renowned singer of the Nocte community and his younger brother Toangi Agi and the same which was followed by prayers and songs from the youths and church leaders.

Chakat Aboh, the wife of Tirong Aboh’s who is now the present MLA of Khonsa West released a documentary and book titled “Untold Story of Inborn Leader – Late Tirong Aboh, 1978-2019”.

The book has been written by Chakat Aboh.

As Wangthian Hakhun, a family member read out the life history of Late Tirong Aboh, the slain MLA’s daughter released birds to mark the 1st death anniversary of her loving father and her elder brother.

The commemoration programme concluded with words of gratitude on behalf of the victimized families and Dadam village by one Jewang Sumnyan.

Members of the All Tirap District Students’ Union (ATDSU) and many other of the Nocte community observed the day at the Khonsa Bus by lighting candles and observing a two-minute silence as a mark of respect for the departed souls.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com