38-year-old Madan Bahadur Tamang of Dolakha district faced a lot of hassles along the way while returning home from the Indian city of Mumbai to celebrate Dashain. Tamang, who worked there as a labourer, had to spend much of his hard-earned money just paying off border security personnel, Indian railway guards and outright thugs just to reach the border at Gauriphanta.
"The money I earned through hard labour abroad had to be spent along the way," said Tamang, who had travelled home with six friends. "We had to spend more than Rs. 10,000 Indian currency. They threatened not to allow us to proceed homeward unless we paid up."
Like Tamang, other Nepalis working in various Indian cities had to endure immense hassles while returning home for the festival. "Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) personnel would not allow me to cross the border unless I paid them. People like me really need to take home the little we earn to celebrate Dashain," said Bhupendra Karki, 20, who returned home from Punjab.
Thousands of Nepalis toiling away in India said that democracy has brought no change in their lives. Many of them opined that they will continue facing unnecessary difficulties unless the government secures them proper employment opportunities at home.
"Nobody wants to leave home to work abroad. But we have no other option," said Dal Bahadur Bhandari of Silgadi Municipality-6. "We are looked down upon and discriminated against. Of course, we feel bad. But what choice do we have?" he asked.
The migrant labourers said that if the government cannot provide them with employment within Nepal, they should at least make some effort to provide them with a safer environment for returning home. They complained that the government was not concerned about seeking a diplomatic solution to the long-standing problem of their being looted every year while returning home.
Large numbers of Nepali workers are continuing to return home from various parts of India. Gauriphanta border point throngs with crowds of such returnees hoping to celebrate Dashin with their families.