Gorakhpur Piranhas

Gorakhpur Piranhas

Havaldar (Sergeant) P P Sharma, has his luggage checked at border customs while returning home on leave from the battle fields of Kashmir.
Photo: Usha Tiwari

One of the greatest sources of distress for Nepali migrants is the exploitation they face on the way back home on the rare holiday. SaysPrem Bahadur Kunwar of Bajhang, a guard in a Marine Drive high-rise in Bombay: "We have to face a lot of atyachar (exploitation) all the way to the border. On the tram and on railway platforms, police and goondas give us trouble starting from as far away as Jhansi all the way to Gorakhpur and the Sunauli border point."

Everyone knows that the Nepalis are returning home with their savings, and that they are aliens without much support while in transit through India. This provides the opportunity for the piranhas to accost the migrants and extort money.

According to Mr Laxmi Prasad Upadhaya, who works in Bangalore, "Gorakhpur is the worst place, where practically everyone, including the railway staff, the police, the CBI and local goondas shake us for money. It is really a tragedy that we cannot even go home with happiness and anticipation, for we know the trouble that awaits."

The leaders of the Emigrant Nepali Association say their party leader Man Mohan Adhikari did raise this matter with the Indian side during his official visit to India in 1995 as Prime Minister. However, the harassment on the ground at Gorakhpur continues.  

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