Assam asks railway to help people go back

NE Exodus Assam ViolenceGuwahati: Assam has asked Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to arrange special trains to allow northeastern people who had fled other states fearing attacks to return, said an official today.

“We have received a request from the Assam government to run special trains to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and others states from September so that the people, who had fled these states in the past few days, can return,” NFR Chief Public Relations Officer S. Hajong told.

“But it has not been finalised as to when NFR will run these trains,” said Hajong.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashoka is likely to visit Assam, Manipur and Nagaland to assure those who had fled that his state was safe and they should return, an official source said.

At least eight special trains have arrived in Assam in the past few days carrying thousands of northeastern people who were studying or working in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states.

The mass exodus started Aug 15 over fears of a backlash due to the Assam communal violence, after people from the northeast in southern states received threatening SMSes and MMSes telling them to leave before Aug 20 or face attacks.

Assam had Aug 18 sent four ministers to Hyderabad and Bangalore to talk to the Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka governments and the northeastern people living there.

Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland too had sent ministerial teams to the southern states to ease the situation and stop the exodus.

Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have already assured that people, who had left their jobs due to the rumours, will be reinstated.

While most of the people expressed their desire to return to their place of study or work, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told officials, including zila and panchayat members, to persuade them to return.

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