The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Home is still by Red River

Musaldhari, Jan. 16: Sixteen-year-old Sugesh Yadav and his 18-year-old brother Sudarshan were taken out of their homes along with 11 others on the morning of January 5 and herded into rows on this chapori along the “river of blood”. Ten Ulfa militants, dressed in army fatigues, sprayed bullets on these Hindi-speaking villagers.

Yet, families of those killed by Ulfa insist that this chapori on the Brahmaputra will remain their home.

Eleven days after his two sons were slain by Ulfa militants, Shivmurat Yadav from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh refuses to return “home”.

“Because my home is Assam and we don’t have anyone in UP,” said the cowherd on this island of the Red River. Hundreds of migrants, just like Yadav from Uttar Pradesh, were born and brought up in the small village of Sadiya near here in Tinsukia district.

Sugesh and Sudarshan have never seen Ghazipur, nor have their cousins Munna, 13, and Bilas, 11.

But the migrants feel that the outfit’s gameplan of essentially eliminating the non-Assamese people from the state has gone out of policy focus. The need for succour has been muffled by the political noises from Bihar and relegated to the background by the exodus of hundreds.

Brick kiln workers at Sakaliya near Moran, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited today, said migrants from Bihar and UP needed more protection.

The Prime Minister visited the affected areas today and said the state will try to create a sense of security among all people, “including Hindi-speaking people”.

There are 147 families from this UP town alone and they are not leaving.

Singh, too, urged the people not to succumb to fear and leave their places of livelihood.

But it is not as if the victims consider themselves heroes in the war against terror; it is just that they can’t return.

Rajinder Yadav, whose 82-year-old father Ram Naresh Yadav was among the 13 killed in Musaldhari, said there were no options for his three sons, “and certainly not returning to Uttar Pradesh”.

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