DAY TO BE REMEMBERED

Today is Monday December 15, 2014 and that day was Monday December 15, 2003. After eleven years I still remember the episode. As we commemorate the 60th Birth anniversary of the fourth king, I would like to bestow this confrontation as tribute to the nation.
My BCSE exam of class X at Sarpang Higher Secondary School ended on December 13, 2003. All students were relieved from the burdens that were conceded in their mind throughout the year. Every person was just saying it’s over now. The day after was farewell party for class Xs out going students. Outgoing students were excited about it; teachers and captains were busy preparing for it. I and my friends were agitated, moving here and there shouted to the highest pitch and loudness for our battle of the year had ended.
It was almost dark and about 7:30 PM after dinner. Warden came into our room and announced “those of you coming from Nganglam are suppose to leave home by tomorrow morning, please get your things ready, do not wait for the farewell”. With no reason, our group was ready for the journey the next day. However, I and my friends were not that happy to leave school early because we would be missing the eventful farewell.
The next day we started our journey by lorry from Gelephu gateway. Sitting at the rear of the truck, some enjoying the scene, some sleeping, some shouting and teasing, some still murmuring about the farewell party specially Mr. Tshering was not contented because he had been serving foodstuff for the school pigs throughout the year, the bigger pig was slaughtered for the fare well. He felt horrific for himself for not being able to have share of it.
After travelling seven hours through west Bengal and Assam of India, we reached at the boarder gate of Nganglam. Everything was peaceful and clam there. Under the fear of meeting elephants on the way and even with the fear of ULFA & BODOs, we walk home that evening only that took us two and half hours to reach Dechheling (home town).  At around 9:30 PM at night we reach Bapta(village) where we all friends have to get disperse into different routes to our separate homes. We wished each other good night and got departed.
By 10’oclock I reach home and I found my only step mother chanting mantra (Om mani pedma hung ri). I had dinner which she had taken already with the ara (local wine) she prepared specially for two of us i.e her son and me. We did chat little about how and where about, and then went to sleep that night.
The next day (15th December 2003) the usual activity of the people there were going on by the subsequent crow of the roaster, people started to cook and load oranges on their horses to reach down at Nganglam for their daily business of selling oranges. By the morning star half of the population of the village will be left for the business especially during winter season. During that day early in the morning at around 10 o’clock , father- in low of my brother came to see me at my house, step mother prepared bangchang (locally made wine) with ara, we sat to chat, relax and simultaneously drinking bangchang.
Within 15 minutes (10:15 AM) the thud of gun firing were heard from the base camp of ulpha and bodos that lie about 5 to 10 km away from my village. I was scared and thought that these terrorist might be torturing our people on the way to their business. We were speechless for a moment and the firing reverberation and explosion of bomb grew louder and louder. The NFE students were appearing test in the football ground, they got scattered in different directions to their homes. The one who was my neighbor came screaming and crying, she said that the war is going on we will die now and said shivering where to go? I said please be clam everything will be alright after sometime but she did not listen to me.
Everybody in the village started moving in one particular direction (people were assigned a place to hide from danger by the head of the village) with hue and cry but funny thing was they were carrying heavy load along with horses. The firing and violence thud continued growing, I did not let step mother to follow them, even father-in-law and cousin brother, we sat together and watched the scene but could not help them because they did not listen to us. We could also watch the cloud of smoke rising from the campsite of those terrorist on the other side of the hill. We were speechless and worried about the relatives those gone for the business towards Nganglam.
An hour later, few of the relatives return back and they said no sooner did they reach Kangrizee (hill that separate our village and Nganglam, also the place where terrorist camps were located), they heard a thunderous sound that made their ear deaf thereafter. After that they heard nothing but only saw number of bullets flying above their heads. The hill (Kangrizee) separated the queue of horses and people. Some return back and some went forward, horses took their own way and people took their own ways. People were clever enough to leave orange load then and there, run to escape but horses were left their own ways with load on their back.
The jet flying over the sky around the terrorist camp kept me worrying. Those who return from the kamgrizee (place where incident occurred) were lucky enough because they could support their kids at home. For those who went down further from kangrizee to Nganglam were unlucky. Some left only kids at home both father and mother did not return. Few left their baby of age ranging from one month to six month. We had difficult time feeding those babies with cow’s milk for a week. Those people who could not cross kangrizee were kept at Nganglam providing lodging and food.  After a week only people were released back to their homes.
The very next day of the incident, the tshogpa (controller of the sub-village) was going to his wabrangsa(cow shed) towards kulamanti(village north of Dechheling) he met a queue of terrorist  coming towards village carrying guns and bumbs and the group consists of all categories, old, young, mother, father and babies. The tshogpa then ran very quickly from the other way to inform arm forces at the head office of the village. The arm forces were ready on the other side of my village (Bapta village). My village and bapta village faces each other with a small river called pelingri in between which means hill to west is my village and hill in the east is bapta village where Peling River runs in between from north to south.
It was around 1:00 PM, the queue of ulpha and bodos family appeared behind my house, I was watching them wordlessly through a small outlet from inside my house along with other friends. We were terrified because men and women were carrying different types of guns and bombs but few women were found carrying babies. They ran through the maize fields and orange orchards some even plucking oranges to eat which indicated they were hungry. They were 34 in numbers. We kept watching them, they were moving toward Nganglam. Reaching down the Peling River they took rest for few minutes even started eating raw maize from the maize field nearby the river. After rest they started climbing up towards bapta village, there we saw their queue changed, three men with gun were moving first keeping almost 10 m between them and then only other followed them. We know that our arm forces are on the attack at the top of the hill.
We kept on watching what would happen next. When they reach the top hill just about to enter bapta village, the gun was fired but we did not know from which part it was. Within a fraction of second the queue disappeared into the bushes, we tried rubbing our eyes to see where they were trouncing but could not, we only saw foot path after firing and it happened once only. A minute later we heard a command from one of the arm personal in Hindi language. “We will fire you and burn you all, come out, make line, everyone hands up, do not handle your equipments’. They started coming out one by one raising their hands up. Then all the arm forces and village men arrested and captured them. Their hands were tied back. The one who was leading the queue was hurt by the bullet on his ankle, medication and aids were provided for him thereof. Their equipments were detained. Three horse loads of guns and three horse loads of bombs were detained from them including number of bullet bags. A cash of 64 thousand rupees were also detained. They were kept a night in the MPH of Dechheling LSS and the next day they were escorted to Nganglam and handed over to India along with equipments and cash.
On the third day of first episode, again another case was reported from kulamanti (village) three more men with gun came to their village. They did halt a night in the Lhakhang (temple) of that village, this time three arm forces were sent toward that village the next morning. Head of the village was informed to release them in the morning. We later heard that firing was started between our soldiers and them on the way. It was lucky for the three of our soldier for they were able to raze them to the ground and buried them into the soil. For about two weeks we the people were asked not to get out of house after 4 o’clock. Each and every corner of the village was occupied by RBA to guide us thereof.
After the third day of the last happening, six gomchens (laymen) were arrested for taking away the thigh bone of the dead bodies buried under ground for the purpose of Kangdung (trumpet). When the nation was facing such circumstances, they were courageous enough to break the law of the land so they were taken behind bar. All the dead bodies were cremated under the law of the land. 
Finally few weeks later we got back into the normal business of day to day programs. This brought peace to the nation relieving the agony that has tortured the motherland so many years. It's all done because of our arms forces and volunteers, we the people salute you bravo.
Cheyi Chari Ngang gi Norbu, you gave us the tears of Happiness and Joy, you resides in our hearts all time to come, I salute you the HERO beyound horizon, you the heart of ours (Lungten chengi Gyalpo). Pelden Drukpa Gyelo Lha Gyelo.


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