CHENNAI: As if the migrant workers were not facing enough problems, the Chennai police held some of them back from travelling to Assam. Reason? They did not have Aadhaar. Though Aadhaar card is not mandatory for migrants to travel back home, Chennai police seems to be insisting on it for some reason.
Recently, a group of five Assamese migrants from Ambattur missed the Shramik Express just because they did not have Aadhaar.More than 80 per cent of people from Assam do not have Aadhaar because of National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) process.
The five migrants in their early 20s are working at a restaurant near Ambattur OT bus stand. They successfully registered in Assam portal on May 7 and when they went to T2 police station in Ambattur Estate for verification, they were asked to produce Aadhaar.
Ramesh Sahani, one of them, told Express that many of my friends from Coimbatore managed to take the train and reached home. “Every day is a nightmare for us. We have not been paid since March and are able afford only one meal a day. Our families are worried.”Krishna Sarkar had it much worse. His wallet containing all his identify proof was stolen.
Finally, they saw a ray of hope after Harmeet Singh, Assam Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) and nodal officer for bringing people back from other states, spoke to Tamil Nadu police. “The issue was brought to my knowledge a week ago and I immediately spoke to Tamil Nadu police. Majority of people in Assam do not have Aadhaar due to NRC. Also, Central government did not make Aadhaar mandatory for migrants to return home. They can show any proof of identity or even the document showing their inclusion in NRC list.”
After a great struggle, these youth managed to complete the process on Saturday night. They submitted voter id and PAN card as proof at Ambattur police station and now are in the long queue to board the next Shramik Express. T2 police station inspector Vijayaraghavan told Express that they have collected details and sent it to Commissioner’s office. “They have to wait for their turn,” he said.
Social activist and lawyer Shreela Manohar, who reported the matter to Assam nodal officer, said thousands of migrants from Northeastern states in Chennai might face similar problems.