Many who had fled home have expressed a desire to return for fear of losing their jobs

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said most of the people who fled from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra and other States were willing to return to their places of work as soon as possible and the State government has requested the North East Frontier Railway to run additional trains from September 1 from Guwahati to destinations in the southern and western States to facilitate their return.

Mr. Gogoi stated this during a meeting with 24 senior citizens, thinkers and opinion-makers on confidence-building measures in the violence-hit Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaigaon districts. Every week, three scheduled trains were run to Bangalore and two to Hyderabad. Legislators and officers were in touch with those who have returned and they have expressed their willingness to return at the earliest as they do not want to lose their jobs.

Expressing concern at the exodus, those present at the meeting urged students and workers not to pay heed to rumours doing the rounds and to return to their places of study and work in view of the assurance given by the State governments concerned.

On rehabilitation of people staying in relief camps, the Chief Minister said that the first priority of the government was to restore complete normality and rehabilitate the affected people. Only genuine Indian citizens would be rehabilitated. “There is no question of rehabilitating the illegal immigrants. Getting relief on humanitarian grounds is something different,” he said at the meeting, according to an official release.

With 8,186 inmates of relief camps returning to their homes in the past 24 hours in the violence-hit districts, the number of inmates in the camps has reduced to 2,56,891. Those still staying in 223 camps include 2,15,899 inmates of 175 camps for Muslims and 40,992 in 48 camps for Bodos.

Mr. Gogoi said it would take some time for the displaced people to return to their respective places due to fear psychosis. The government would involve all segments of the population, including local leaders, civil societies, NGOs, village defence personnel and home guards to bring about normality in the affected areas.

An emergency meeting of the Kerala Association here condemned the ongoing violence in parts of Assam and the resultant exodus from Karnataka, Maharashtra Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

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