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Back in Bihar with trainloads of woe

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LEFT WITH FEW OPTIONS: A Bihari family arrives at the Patna Junction from Nashik on Wednesday, following attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra.
LEFT WITH FEW OPTIONS: A Bihari family arrives at the Patna Junction from Nashik on Wednesday, following attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra.

Special Correspondent

PATNA: The Patna Junction or, for that matter, any other station in Bihar presents a heart-rending scene as jampacked trains arrive from Maharashtra carrying thousands of terror-stricken people, in the aftermath of the anti-north Indian violence there.

Each train unloaded the same story — of people having forsaken their home, jobs and future, and fleeing to safety, not knowing what lay in store for them. They returned in tears, leaving behind what little they had acquired in Mumbai and other cities, doing petty jobs and street vending.

In the last few days, “we lost our sleep when they came and asked us to leave or face violence. They also threatened us saying Raj Thackeray [leader of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and his men would come, beat us up and drive us away,” said Vikas Sharma from Nashik. Most others, who earned their living as labourers, had the same thing to say. They were threatened to leave Maharashtra or face dire consequences. There was little else they could have done in the absence of security.

Saroj Devi said: “We left everything behind. My son didn’t even collect his earnings from the company where he worked. We weren’t even given any time to think. They terrorised us.”

“We were stoned by goondas and beaten up,” said Rajeev, who had to leave his studies and come back with his parents. His family had been living in Maharashtra for two generations.

Nagma was forced to give birth to a child in the toilet of a train. She was denied proper delivery in hospital, thanks to goons striking terror. Her husband, Md. Naji, had just Rs.10. “Railway police took away whatever I had. What can I do now? I’ve to take care of seven children?”

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