Migrant workers flee Assam

Himalayan News Service

Guwahati, May 13:

Hundreds of suspected Bangladeshi migrant workers have fled an Assamese city following threats from an unidentified group asking locals not to employ “illegal foreigners”.

“Maybe a few hundred suspected Bangladeshi nationals working in brick kilns and doing menial jobs have fled Dibrugarh town during the last few days,” Assam Inspector General of Police Khagen Sharma said.

“We are not sure where they have gone,” he added. For the past fortnight, an unidentified group in Dibrugarh district, 490 km from Guwahati, has been circulating leaflets and sending messages on mobile telephones warning “all illegal Bangladeshi nationals” to leave Assam or face action.

“Let’s take an oath... no job, no food, no shelter to any Bangladeshi. Start a complete economic blockade against the illegal immigrants,” a leaflet doing the rounds in Dibrugarh read.

Police in Dibrugarh said many brick kilns in the district have since closed down and there is a crisis for commuters in the city because cycle rickshaws have gone off the roads due. “Many of those who fled were working in brick kilns or pulling rickshaws,” Dibrugarh district police chief PC Saloi said over the phone.

“We have heard about messages asking Bangladeshis to leave. This is a social action and we do not like to comment on this,” Home Secretary VK Duggal told journalists in Guwahati.

“We are continuing erecting quality barbed fencings along the border to prevent illegal infiltration and at the same time using legal and judicial measures to deport Bangladeshi settlers.”