How did my father die?

Dear Editor,
I woke crying at 5 yesterday with my pillow soaked in my tears. Dad had visited me in my dream. Again. Wearing white, he had turned his back towards me. Before I could gather the courage to say anything to him, he asked me, “Have you found them?” Disappointed at my failure, I said no! Dismayed at my response, he lowered his head, while disappearing into the jungle. He didn’t turn back.
This is not the first time that he had ‘enquired’ about his killers, in the past; my siblings and aunts have also had similar experiences. Though the experiences were unalike, one commonality that underscored them was, of his angst at the delay in finding out the truth. He was often heard to be communicating, “I didn’t drown! I didn’t die drowning!” On asked by my aunt in her dreams, if he knew who killed him, he responded, “No! I don’t know who killed me! I couldn’t see, my body was restrained down and my face was pinned on the ground by 3-4 men. He added, that before he could resist, he was dead.
As I took cognizance of my mindfulness, I reflected on the dream. I am an educated person with rational competence but this dream had confounded me, not because of my experience but because of its recurrent occurrence. I contemplated on it, and wondered if he was trying to provide a sign or was he looking for an answer himself! In the last hundred and thirty five days, my family and I have been just waiting and nothing else.
They say, waiting is patience and is enduring and not many can do it. But, can I tell you something, it is nothing to be envied or lauded about. May be it’s for some but for my family and me, waiting means sleepless nights and untold pain. It also means listening to many deprived voices; of my desolate mother; my half-orphaned sibling; confused relatives and unsettled public. But do you know what the most difficult part is? Listening to one’s own suffering voice and facing one’s own wounded holes in the soul. I am afraid I will never be able to describe the agony that my family and I are facing but what I can definitely share is, ‘waiting is the rust of soul’ and may God give us the courage to continue to fight.
After the Gauhati High Court directed on the reconstitution of the SIT on February 25th, my family saw a ray of hope with the case. Led by the “Special” investigation team Chief (D.S.P) Mr. Rike Kamsi, the team failed miserably in providing answers to the case. Now, who will apologise to the family for the time and faith placed upon this carefully selected team provided from the state? Why is the family being punished for placing our trust on the Government? The humiliation and disgrace of living a ‘normal’ life, after a life changing event can only be reconciled by those who have lost themselves. Then on the 9th of March earlier, when the Chief Minister Pema Khandu announced that his government had given two months’ time to the investigating agency to finish the investigation, we were further assured of the Government’s help. He further added, should the SIT report be unsatisfactory, the Government would support the family’s demand and recommend the case to a higher investigating agency.
Above all this, I was happy to read that, my late father’s friends and colleagues were equally severe about resolving his mysterious death. My father must be thanking them today for their kindness. I resounded when I heard Uncle Rebia say, “How could God be so unkind to take him away so early”. Another familiar voice brought courage to my damaged confidence, “Government should speed up. Whatever the outcome of the case, people of Arunachal want to know, family members want to know what exactly happened to late Pinch”- Wanglin Lowangdong. I thank all his comrades for the timely support and friendship shown to his unsettled soul and I hope that my family will have your support till the end.
After the incompetency of the first S.I.T, the newly constituted SIT seems to be following a similar path, with no substantial probe on the case. Twenty witnesses/suspects yet all are out on bail besides the three Ngurang brothers. The remaining 17 members have not been arrested till now. Many of them are even absconding. Most importantly, there hasn’t been any departmental action on the two Government employees involved with the case. The EE Techi Ramda and the Police Constable Biri Tadung, who were the members of the rafting expedition team on the 17th November 2017. Also, if those seven young girls are above 18 years of age, they should be tried in the same manner as the others (suspects in a murder case). I hope that the Women Commission will look into the matter, if otherwise.
Besides the two Government employees, the other members of the expedition team were- Bamang Taji, Bamang Galang, Nabam Tadap, Kipa Tatar, Nabam Tame, Atum Welly, Ngurang Abraham, Ngurang Tungkey, Ngurang Nega, Nabam Bate, Panye Issak. My family and I don’t claim the twenty members to be murderers but they stand ‘accused’ in this case. One can only hope that they, who are involved, will have their conscious awaken one day. Especially those that are my father’s murderers.
This is not the first mystery murder/death case, we have seen too many of such incidents in the past in our state. One could just visit the newspaper archives and be baffled on the numbers of such incidents. A land that always boasts about celebrating and preserving tribal norms and cultures often forgets that it is inherently this determination to strictly subscribe to ‘outdated customary norms’ have corroded the basic tenets of human rights.
I hope the people of this state will begin to be afraid of law and adhere strictly to the constitution to allow a good law and order situation. I hope that the innocent members of the rafting team will reflect on their silence and help us nab the murderers irrespective of their background.
I urge that my father’s death shouldn’t go in vain. I reckon that my father’s death, will be an exemplary case in stirring the debate of right and wrong even within a family.
Life goes on, they say, but will life really be the same? After losing my father untimely, nothing is ever going to be the same. Today, the SIT has one month in their hands to find answers to my father’s murder case, I, on the other hand have stopped counting, hopeful nevertheless. But, perhaps the SIT is not knowing how near the truth is, and they seek it far away. Only time will tell. I only ask one question to the Government today, will you uphold your promise of handing over the case to the CBI if the SIT fails? Because my family and I are in immense pain and we are patiently awaiting justice.
Ngurang Reena