Sok Divas, (State Mourning Day) is observed in Assam on 16th August. Sok Divas is to mourn the killings of innocents in a bomb explosion at Dhemaji district of Assam. These senseless killings took place during the Independence Day celebration of 2004. The tragic incident claimed the lives of innocent people. The banned militant outfit United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) was responsible for it.
August 16 as Sok Divas for Dhemaji Blast, Assam
All officers and staff of all departments and heads of offices in all districts, sub-divisions observed a one minute silence at 11 AM. This day was held to commemorate the day, for all those who were killed in the Dhemaji blast 14 years ago.
All Government offices and educational institutions hoisted the National Flag at half-mast. In order to observe the Sok Divas for the eternal peace of the departed souls, the administration convened a public meeting centrally in all district headquarters.
It included leading citizens, members of the civil society and educational institutionswho took a pledge to work for peace and harmony in the state. They also raised their voices against all acts of militant, extremist violence. Ministers, Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly also attended the programmes in districts and sub-divisions.
August 15, in 2004: the 58th Independence Day of India, a dark day for Dhemaji victims
On August 15, 2004 school children and their parents gathered at Dhemaji College ground to celebrate the Independence Day parade. Like every year, that year also ULFA called for a boycott of the event. At around 9:30 AM a bomb blast took place. The ULFA planted it near the college gate. It killed 18 people (mostly school children and women) and injured several others.
Tarun Gogoi, erstwhile Chief Minister of Assam, announced that the state would observe ‘State Mourning Day’ on August 16 every year. He also announced compensation of Rs. 3 Lakhs for the victims and Rs. 50,000 for the seriously injured in Dhemaji blast. On December 13 in 2009, five years after the incident, Paresh Barua, the Commander-in-Chief of ULFA, apologised and sought forgiveness for the Dhemaji blast.
Formation of ULFA
In 1979 United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), an extremist organisation formed in Asaam. A few Assamese rebels formed it with an aim to liberate Assam as a separate country. In 1990, the Indian Government banned ULFA and also declared Assam ‘a troubled state’. Since then, Assam has witnessed the loss of thousands of lives due to the terrorist acts carried out by ULFA.
72nd Independence Day on August 15, 2018: Families of the Victims awaits justice
While the entire country celebrated Independence Day, the families of the victims are still waiting for justice. They are still waiting for justice be met to the perpetrators. ULFA’S Brutal acts in the Dhemaji blast took away their near and dear ones’ lives.