NE students' numbers swell

There has been an increase in the migration of students and working class from NE states to Pune despite last year's attacks. NE citizens say Pune is a safe place and Pune police are taking their issues seriously.

Peimingam A Zimik, adviser of Naga Student's Union, Pune, says: "Pune police have been very friendly. We feel Pune is a safe city. Local people are supportive. The education facilities are good. The number of students from NE states coming to Pune continues to rise."

"Two Khasi students were abused last year. One of them has gone back to Meghalaya. But the other student has stayed back. Also, many Khasi students have come to Pune this year. The situation is normal now. Pune is like a second home," says Sashan Khongthohrm, president of the Khasi Student's Union, Pune.

Rock Lungleng of Nagaland, who heads NECOP, says: "Pune police have done a good job. They are more sensitive towards NE citizens. They have increased interaction with the NE citizens. So this year again, much more citizens have come to Pune from NE for studies and jobs. The Muslim community invites us to celebrate festivals like Eid with them."

Tumto Bagra, a student of BE (Computers) from Arunachal Pradesh, says: "There is discrimination at times, but apart from that we feel Pune is a comfortable city. Earlier, the traffic police used to stop us and check our identity documents. But now their mindset towards us has changed. They understand us better now."

Pramod Bodo, president of the All Bodo Students' Union, Assam, says: "There are about 40 Bodo students in Pune. They have no complaints with the city. We are planning to arrange programmes for increasing cultural interaction with Pune people."

Even labourers from NE, who had gone back after attacks last year, have come back in larger numbers. Last year, after the attacks were reported and rumours about more attacks were spreading, a large number of labourers working in Chakan area had left Pune and fled to their home states. Pratik Jagtap, a labour contractor based in Chakan, says: "They were very terrified when they fled from here. Horrible SMSes and MMSes were in circulation. But after a month passed, they started coming back. It was all about their bread and butter. But we could see that they came back in more numbers. They brought their friends, specially those from Assam."

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