A week after violence gripped the city when protests over the killings of Muslims in Assam escalated into riots, officials of Assam government at Assam Bhavan in Vashi have claimed that they are taking all measures possible to convince people from Assam in and around Mumbai that they are safe. However, the officials have failed to stop their exodus back to their home state, after panic-stricken parents and relatives have been asking them to return home.
Assam government officials claimed that they have been visiting hospitals, industries and colleges where Assamese people work or study, to stop them from moving back to Assam.
Dr Debashish Sharma, deputy residential commissioner of Assam government at Assam Bhavan in Vashi said, “We have gone to Tata Institute of Social Studies and various colleges and have appealed to Assamese students not to believe rumours and to maintain communal harmony. Also, we have visited various hospitals and industries in MIDCs, where a lot of north-easterners work. We have told the people that there is no need to leave Mumbai as they are safe here and almost all of them seemed to be convinced.”
However, not all of the Assamese people are willing to listen to the official’s pleas. “Despite the appeal, many people are leaving the city because parents and relatives of these people have forced them to come back to Assam. As there is fear of a backlash due to the riots happening in Assam, they have been asked to return immediately.”
Some Assamese people staying in the Assam Bhavan in Vashi, said they were afraid even though they have been told that they are safe. “No untoward incident has happened here in the last few days. In addition, there are two policemen stationed at the Bhavan for our security. Still, we are concerned about our safety as there are chances of a backlash,” said Jayant, who had come from Assam to Mumbai for cancer treatment.