Monday, 20 August 2012

Scared Jharkhand students join exodus from southern cities

Scared Jharkhand students join exodus from southern cities

Clean Media Correspondent

RANCHI, Aug 20 (CMC): Several youngsters studying in Bangalore and Chennai have returned to Jharkhand since Thursday in the wake of perceived threats to people from the northeast in the southern cities. Though most of these students have no connection to northeastern states, their parents have called them home as a precautionary measure.

The Yesvantpur-Hatia Express (12836), which arrived at Hatia railway station late on Saturday, had several students from the city on board. "I caught the train with a lot of difficulty at the last moment because my parents asked me to do so," said Prashant Shukla, a second semester engineering student. Shukla, however, insists that he had no reason to panic while he was in Bangalore. "I did not face any problem in Ganga Nagar, the locality where I live in Bangalore, Police vigilance has been significantly increased since the rumours spread," he added.

A student told Clean Media at Hatia railway station on Saturday morning that a large number of police personnel has been deployed across Bangalore. "It is likely that even innocent boys can get incriminated by cops for spreading "rumours" or things like that. It was thus safe to return," said the student.

Like aspiring engineers and doctors from the northeast, thousands of students from Jharkhand flock to these southern cities. Many of those returning said that they made a decision to leave when their friends and roommates from Assam decided to go back home. Among the students, it is mostly the girls who have returned.

"My son was living in a rented house at Bangalore's Mahalashmipura with his friends. He was feeling alone and scared after his friends from Assam fled. He will be back after the matter settles down," said Shankar Agrawal, a local businessman whose son is pursuing BSc-IT at a private institute.

The exodus of students from southern India has fuelled huge waiting lists in Jharkhand-bound trains. Despite this being off-season, the Yesvantpur-Hatia Express and Alleppey Express have long waiting lists of pasengers. Kumar Rajiv, an inspector with the railway police force at Hatia, said: "This is an off season, but the crowd at the station is far more than normal."

Alleppey Express - which goes to Dhanbad via Hatia - arrived at Hatia railway station at 9:20am on Sunday with several students. Also, Yesvantpur Tatanagar Super Fast Express from Bangalore and Alleppey Tata Express from Chennai Central junction are also bringing in youngsters to Jamshedpur.

Chotanagpur Passengers Association (CPA) vice-president Ashok Nagpal said roughly four lakh youngsters from Jharkhand are studying in southern cities. "The number of students from Ranchi itself is so huge that we always demand special trains during exams," said Nagpal. CPA, however, feels that there is nothing extraordinary if students have come home. "Parents are always worried about their kids, particularly if they live far away. It is common for them to ask their children to return home for a short while after situations like serial blasts," said Nagpal.

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