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Exodus to Northeast continues from Mumbai, Gujarat

India TV News Desk 19 Aug 2012, 11:31:30 IST
India TV News Desk
Mumbai/Ahmedabad, Aug 19: The Mumbai- Guwahati Express left Lokmanya Tilak Terminus here on Saturday carrying  nearly a thousand passengers more than its capacity.

Most of them were contract labourers working in milk, meat and bread factories in Mumbai and its industrial townships.
Lolita, a young woman who has been working in a milk factory since 2008, told The Hidu she felt the “trouble” that gripped Assam could haunt Mumbai too.
“It is better to go before anything happens. The Maharashtra government has told the Assamese people to leave, or so I have heard.”  She was part of a group of 10 persons from Sonitpur, Assam.
Many passengers reacted to rumours of impending violence after August 20.
“Our families are saying, ‘come back before the 20th. There could be something.' We have no security away from home. The police assured us that they would give security, but what if I am attacked while I am on my way to work?,” asked Achyut Bora, a factory worker from Sonitpur.
Some like Ravi Pradhan, a hairdresser from Darjeeling, felt the need to go to the safety of home with his wife.
“Parents will care about their children. They are calling us back. We will come back when the situation has eased.”
In response to appeals that they stay back, some passengers carried placards that read: ‘We will be back soon.' And there was also a provocative placard against Bangladeshi migrants.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), students wing of the RSS, distributed leaflets  that urged the people to stay back. ABVP members carried banners and flags and made announcements on the microphone.
 “If you cancel your trip, you will be safe in Mumbai. But if you must go, come back soon,” they said.
Members of the Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association of Maharashtra were also at the station.
“We bring the message of peace, that people are safe here. The government has assured people of safety, but it has failed to allay their fears. It's a conspiracy that people from all over the country are leaving [for home in the northeast]. Fear has been created in their minds.”
In Ahmedabad, the Western Railway was forced to add additional coaches to Assam-bound trains from Gujarat to cater to the rush.
An official spokesman said here on Saturday that at least 100 extra passengers boarded the Okha-Guwahati Express that left Ahmedabad on Friday night after the railways added two coaches in the 22-coach train.
For a change, however, the migrant workers from the northeast said they wanted to return home not because of any panic,  but because they were worried about their families and friends back home after they received urgent calls asking them to return immediately.
After the train left Ahmedabad, at least 500 more passengers from the northeast, — working in Vadodara, Ankleshwar, Broach and other places in central and south Gujarat, as well as the Union Territories of Daman and Dadra and Nagar Haveli — also jumped into the train to reach Guwahati at the earliest.