Ninety-eight migrant labourers were dragged out of a train and assaulted, allegedly by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members, at Mandya in Karnataka late on Wednesday night. The activists terrorised the labourers hailing from West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan, Bihar and other States for nearly two hours before dragging them out, claiming they were “illegal Bangladeshis.” The labourers were heading to Mangalore on the Yeshwantpur-Kannur Express. Scores of passengers remained mute spectators to the assault, even as the labourers pleaded that they were headed to the coastal city to seek jobs at construction sites. The activists were returning from a convention in Bangalore.
The ordeal for the workers, 66 of them from West Bengal and belonging to various religions, began soon after they boarded the general compartment of the train in Bangalore at 8 p.m. The activists started questioning them, Bishnu Babu from West Bengal told The Hindu. They also started raising slogans against Bangladeshi migrants. “Without allowing us to explain, they started searching our baggage and pockets. Most of the people were cheering and laughing,” Shyam Sharma from Odisha said.
This torture continued till the train reached Mandya. The activists dragged all the labourers out of the train and in full public glare, kicked and punched them. The Mandya police have detained nine persons in connection with the incident. Government Railway Police Deputy Superintendent of Police Meer Arif Ali said the police would book criminal cases against them. The police, after collecting details about the labourers, organised special vehicles and sent them to Bangalore. “We gave protection to the labourers and sent them to Bangalore,” Superintendent of Police Koushalendra Kumar said.