Guwahati, (IANS) A special train to Bangalore left a railway station here Saturday afternoon to help people from the northeast return to their places of study or work in southern states after their mass exodus last month over fear of attacks.
The train started from the railway station at Paltan Bazar around 2.40 p.m. and would reach Bangalore Monday evening.
Another special train is scheduled to leave for the same destination Sep 5, said Assam Environment and Forests Minister Rockybul Hussain, who met the passengers before the train’s departure.
A 10-member special security team of Assam Police joined Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel for boosting the special train’s security.
Hussain and Assam Agriculture, Horticulture and Food Processing Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka bid farewell to the passengers at the railway station.
After reaching Bangalore, the train would start its return journey to Guwahati Tuesday, railway sources said.
While most of the passengers were people from Assam and other northeastern states working in Bangalore and other southern cities, some of them were also students – who decided to return after the assurance by the respective state governments.
Although the train was scheduled for departure at 1.15 p.m., it got delayed as the authorities had to add one more compartment to it due to the rush. The train included 18 sleeper-class coaches.
“When we came to the station we saw some people on the wait list. We convinced the railway officials to attach one more compartment to accommodate them,” said Hussain.
He said the government would run another special train Sep 5.
The exodus of people from the northeast from southern states started Aug 15 after rumours went viral through internet, SMS and MMS threatening them to return to their states before Aug 20 or face dire consequences.
The Karnataka government arranged nine special trains from Bangalore to Guwahati after thousands of people gathered at Bangalore railway station following the threats.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashoka visited Assam and Manipur Aug 25-26 to assure northeastern states of the security in Bangalore and requested the people to return.
Ashoka asked Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to arrange for special trains to facilitate the return of the people to Bangalore and other places.