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Bleak future for Bihari returnees

Special Correspondent

The land of their origin has nothing to offer them by way of a livelihood

— Photo: PTI

TICKET TO SAFETY: Bihari migrant workers in Assam crowd inside the Brahmaputra Mail as it prepares to leave the Guwahati railway station on Tuesday.

PATNA: True to its name, the Brahmaputra Mail these days is a train of turbulence. It brings back settlers and seasonal migrants of Bihari origin from trouble-torn Assam.

All the trains arriving from Assam are heavily guarded, accentuating the despair of the natives. With no signs of a let-up in ULFA's violence in about half a dozen districts there, hundreds of fear-stricken men, women and children continue to come back, but they have little to look forward to in their land of origin.

"Where is the question of staying back there when you receive threats? What will we do now going back to our village with no employment and nothing to eat?" asked Suresh Mahto of Bhojpur district when he landed here.

Ramifications

The exodus has complex ramifications. For the families of four Dalit labourers — Raghubar Das, Kamal Das, Pramod Das and Babban Das — who were among those killed by the ULFA, the loss is that of a major bread winner. Their death spells doom for the hapless survivors.

All the four hailed from Karnauti village in Vaishali district and were lured by the idea of a seasonal job in one of the brick kilns in Assam as they had failed to get a job card in their homeland. Mahadevi wondered how she would live without her son providing for her. Pramod Das's seven children are uncertain about their future.

In many instances, people hurriedly performed the funeral ceremonies of their relatives and returned to Bihar in haste, as they did not have the money to bring the bodies with them.

The bodies of at least seven labourers from Chapra were yet to be claimed, as they had gone on their own. Their family members are going to Assam to get the remains of their loved ones.

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