Assam schools seek to heal bomb-scarred kids on Children's Day

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Guwahati, Nov 14 (UNI) The colourful dresses, bright faces and bubbling energy that earlier filled school campuses on Children's Day has been replaced in bomb-scarred Assam by an undercurrent of grief as students, teachers and parents came together to remember the deceased.

Moromi Sharma, the lone minor victim of October 30 serial blasts in the state, was remembered by tearful playmates at her Dispur Lower Primary School in Ganeshguri, with her mother Sunita, who also lost her husband in the blasts, also participating in the prayer meeting.

''There could not have been any question of celebrations after losing one of our children in the blasts,'' Anima Das, headmistress of Moromi's school said.

The annual competitions of song and dance, recitation and fancy dress have been replaced with 'naam-kirtan' (traditional Assamese prayer songs) as people spontaneously organised hymns in the school premises.

Little children of this school - the school enrolls students up to class IV - sat patiently through the day-long memorial service, with parents and guardians also joining in.

The little kids, barely able to gauge the true meaning of terror or death, have been left scarred as classes were on when the bomb went off barely 500 metres away. Normal classes are yet to resume.

''Very few students come and even among them, many break down into tears suddenly as a fear psychosis has gripped them,'' Ms Das said.

The shattered window panes bear testimony to the ill-fated day as the headmistresses shuddered at the thought of massive devastation in terms of minor lives had the blast occurred half-an-hour later, when classes are over.

Not just Moromi's school, other schools also refrained from organising large functions as in previous years to celebrate Children's Day.

''We had a prayer meeting at our school and observed a memorial service. How can one celebrate when such bloodshed in going around?'' said Jinti Baruah, an assistant teacher at Hengerabari Lower Primary School in Ganeshguri area.

Elsewhere also, schools paid tributes to the deceased in the blasts and observed one-minute silence before starting subdued cultural programmes.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today announced that the government would bear educational expenses of children of families who have lost their sole breadwinner in the serial blasts.

UNI SG DPM SY AS1536

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