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Northeast migrants throng Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to flee Mumbai

Friday morning saw Lokmanya Tilak Terminus teeming with Northeast migrants scurrying to board the Guwahati Express.

Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Guwahati Express
North-East residents boarding Guwahati Express from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Pic - Sameer Abedi)

The recent riots at Azad Maidan over the violence in Assam and the exodus of Northeasterners from other parts of the country have instilled fear in the minds of Mumbai's Northeast migrants.

As a result, people had started coming in large numbers to the station since 11 pm last night.

The Central Railway plied a special 23-coach train instead of their usual 21-coach train. Two general compartment coaches of 72 seats each were to accommodate as many people as possible.  

This too didn't seem to serve the purpose as hundreds of people were seen standing inside the sleeper coaches while the general compartment was filled beyond capacity. The AC coaches were better off with less crowd in them.

Guwahati Express, North-East people
The sleeper coaches and general compartment were overflowing with people (Pic - Sameer Abedi) 

Security was deployed in the train to avoid any untoward incident. In all, 10 Railway Protection force (RPF) officers and 20 Government Railway Police (GRP) officers were posted inside the coaches.

"My family was afraid that I might get harmed. So after they insisted, I decided to return," said Jeetu, a daily wage labourer.

There were many others facing a similar plight, but were afraid to speak openly.

"What is the guarantee that I won't be harmed for talking on this issue (recent tiff between Bodo tribe and Muslim community)?" said a young lad who claimed to be a student from Mumbai University, but refused to divulge his name.

The railway police at the station said that there were more than 3000 people travelling in the train.

The train departed at 8.06 am today, a minute late than its scheduled time.  

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