‘We were told by our parents that we would be targeted after August 20’

There seemed to be an air of uncertainty among the thousands of people from the Northeast, mostly from Assam, who were returning home by a special train from Bangalore, amidst reported threat to their lives.

The special train taking them to Guwahati arrived at the Visakhapatnam railway station on Friday evening.

‘Mobile messages’

Most of them said they had received messages on their mobiles asking them to leave by August 20. Some said they were returning as their friends were returning though they did not perceive any immediate threat. Some felt that their family members and assets in Assam would be targeted and feared the safety of their kith and kin.

They were mostly workers employed at software companies in Bangalore.

“We received calls from our parents and relatives that we would be targeted any day after August 20 and asking us to return immediately,” said many of them.

Raktim, a youth employed in a car manufacturing plant at Bangalore, said: “My mother phoned me and asked me to return immediately”. He hails from Shivsagar in Assam.

“Some persons in Bangalore hinted at possible threats after August 20,” said Bipin.

“None of us will be spared after August 20,” said Toofan Munda fearing attacks.

Sushmita, a young woman from Karbiang district, returning in the second special train along with her husband Mangal, a private worker in Bangalore, said that some persons had met them and held out threats that they wouldn’t be allowed to remain in Bangalore. She said that she couldn’t identify the miscreants.

Hemanto, a worker in a private company, said he did not perceive any threat but was apprehensive about the safety of his family members, who stay in Lakhmipur, about 500 km from Guwahati.

Around 150 volunteers of RSS, BMS, ABVP, VHP and Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram distributed food and water packets to the passengers.

BMS State legal cell in-charge K. Bhavani Shankarudu complained that these hapless passengers were being exploited by vendors.

Arrangements were made to supply more food packets at Vizianagaram and the Divisional Railway Manager had agreed to provide a two-minute halt there, he said.

RSS district executive member SVS Murthy said that 3,000 snacks packets and water packets were already distributed in the first train and 6,000 food packets would be distributed in the other special trains.

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