The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hounded from home, safe haven in Calcutta

Calcutta, Nov. 23: Years ago, Shivlal Yadav had sold all his land in Bihar’s Darbhanga district to move to Tinsukia in Assam in search of a living.

A few days ago, he was forced to migrate a second time — in search of cover from the onslaught on Biharis in Assam.

“I sold all my land in Bihar. I have nothing left there and I never thought I would have to start my life again,” said the 53-year-old carpenter, who arrived in Howrah station yesterday morning.

He is one of many who are coming to Calcutta from Assam as they have nothing to fall back on in their home state.

Like Shivlal, Ramji Kumar Ram, from Gournagar in Darbhanga, has landed in Calcutta to pick up the pieces of his life anew. He had migrated to Tinsukia 10 years ago and become a carpenter.

Days after violence broke out in Assam in a backlash to a series of attacks on trains from the Northeast, a silent migration march of people like Shivlal and Ramji Kumar has started. Most take the Kamrup (Guwahati) Express to Howrah and Kanchanjangha Express to Sealdah.

A weeping Shivlal said he had no choice as every night was an endless terrifying wait for a knock on the door by rebels. “We were afraid to leave our houses as there were attacks and murders all around.”

“Things were becoming unbearable,” his son Raghu said. “Several people in our locality were picked up by Ulfa men and they never returned,” said the youth in his late 20s who, like his father, is a carpenter.

So last Sunday, they decided to flee the trouble-torn state. They accompanied the family of Mohan Dev Yadav, who has relatives at Burrabazar, to Calcutta.

“Mohan has promised to take us to his place within a day or two,” Shivlal said in Howrah station, where his family has “settled down” for now.

Ramji Kumar, too, came with neighbours. “We came here along with some of our neighbours who have relatives in the Posta area,” he said.

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