Bangalore: Rumour mongering over Assam violence has caused panic among the Northeastern students and professionals. An estimated 4,000 people who hail from the Northeast, but were living in Bangalore, are now rushing to leave the I-T city and return to their home states as a fallout of the recent communal clashes.
This is because they fear for their safety after many reportedly received anonymous SMSes saying they would be targeted in retaliatory attacks. "Our relatives in the Northeast are calling us back due to security reasons," one of the Northeast students said.
Many were seen boarding trains out of Bangalore on Wednesday, even after Karnataka's Home Minister R Ashok addressed them on the station's PA system to reassure them of their safety.
Karnataka Home Minister R Ashok spoke on the station public announcement system and appealed the Northeast people not to leave Bangalore. "Bangalore is safe, don't believe in rumours, don't leave Bangalore," he said.
Karnataka DGP Lalrokhuma Pachuau appealed to the Northeast students to not panic. "People claim they have received anonymous messages and saw updates on the social media. They should not panic as there is not a single attack anywhere. Northeast students are meeting state home minister and other senior police officials at 11 am. We have called a meeting at 4 pm of the Northeast leaders and other community leaders," he said.
The government says there is no need to panic. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde have spoken to Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar. He has also called a high-level meeting with senior police officials and Northeast community leaders.
Ranjan Biswas, PRO divisional office Bangalore, said, "There were too many people going to Guwahati, so we had to give them two special trains."
But not just Bangalore, there have been similar attacks elsewhere as well. Thirteen people were arrested for allegedly beating up Northeastern students in Pune last week. The Pune police met members of the Muslim community urging them to disregard a controversial MMS clip that has been doing the rounds. Police say the clip is doctored and aimed at creating communal tension. A case has been filed against unknown persons for circulating it. Security is being stepped up at colleges in the city.
Meanwhile, a Tibetan college student was stabbed in Mysore by two people who suspected him to be from the Northeast.
CNN-IBN Appeal: Don't spread rumours and panic
Rumours of attacks on a community are doing the rounds. CNN-IBN appeals to all well-meaning citizens to keep away the rumours and sift facts from fiction. We appeal to all communities to work together to ensure that the students from the Northeast are reassured of their safety.