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Fear factor drives mass N-E exodus from south India

Last updated on: August 18, 2012 15:09 IST

Fear factor drives mass N-E exodus from south India

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K Anurag

Even as the concerning state governments and the central government claim that the exodus of students and other people from north-east from southern states were due to rumour mongering by some vested interests, panic-stricken people continue to rush back home in special trains from Chennai and Bengaluru.

"Over 2000 panic-gripped people from Assam and other north-east states arrived in Guwahati railway station on Saturday morning in two trains from Bengaluru and one train from Chennai. We have put up a counter in railway station to help those people. We have provided them food, water and even transportation to the inter-state bus terminus at the outskirt of the city," said Assam Public Works President Abhijit Sarma.

The APW, an NGO known for its staunch stand against insurgency, has set up a stall at the Guwahati railway station to help as well as keep a record of those who have fled the southern states out of fear for life.

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Image: The sight at Guwahati railway station


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However, most of those who arrived in the railway station told rediff.com that they did not receive any threat personally from any quarter. They had decided to flee their workplace, as they had heard about threats sounded by some unknown quarters against people from the region if they failed to leave before the end of the 'Ramzan' month. 

Some of them said that they were forced to come after receiving frequent calls from home, as family members panicked over repeated clippings being shown in Guwahati-based TV channels to show how panic-stricken people from the north-east were thronging railway stations in southern states to catch the next available train home.

Pradip Pegu (30) from Teok Janjimukh in Jorhat district of Assam, who arrived from Bengaluru on Saturday morning, told rediff.com at the railway station, "I decided to come back home after being persuaded by his panic-stricken friends as well as on getting panic calls from his home. No one threatened me personally, but some of my friends suggested that we should leave immediately as there were instances in which unknown people had issued threat to people from Assam."

"I was asked not to leave by my employer and even some locals. I have rushed back home in such a hurry from my workplace that I have left behind my money and other valuables at my rented room in Bengaluru. I am willing to go back when things will cool down."

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Pradip has been working as a security guard in Bengaluru for the last seven years. He is now worried whether he would get his Provident Fund amount of about Rs 90,000 as he could not find time to apply for its withdrawal.

Sankar Chintey (24), who has been working as a security guard in Bengaluru since the last three years said, "I have not received any threat from anyone neither have I witnessed any 'hungama' anywhere in Bangalore. Still, I have come back with some of my friends in a group of 15 as a sense of fear was gripping us over the teat that was doing round."

"Moreover, my family members in Guwahati too called me frequently asking to come back as they had seen on television how people were fleeing out of fear. I was staying in Whitefield area in Bengaluru and nothing has happened there to compel me to leave."

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A Northeast Frontier Railway source in Guwahati informed that three more special trains will arrive from Bengaluru and Chennai on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday rushed two cabinet ministers -- Chandan Brahma and Nilamoni Sen Deka -- to Bengaluru and two more ministers -- Pradyut Bardoloi and Rockybul Hussain -- to Hyderabad to set up coordination with local government there to persuade panic-stricken people from Assam not to leave their work place in those states.




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