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More than 30,000 Northeast people flee South, RAF deployed in Bangalore

PTI 18 Aug 2012, 12:09:40 IST
PTI
Bangalore/Chennai/New Delhi, Aug 18: With no let-up in the exodus of people from the northeast in Bangalore, Police cracked the whip arresting six people on charges that included sending “false” SMSes while Centre banned for 15 days bulk text messages and MMSes across the country.
 


Driven by rumours of impending attacks, the exodus of people from the northeast spread from Bangalore to other areas in Karnataka like Mysore, Mangalore and Kodagu.  

Karnataka government said six persons have been arrested on charges of attack, intimidation or sending “false” SMSes to people from northeast even as it decided to deploy Rapid Action Force(RAF) personnel in Bangalore to instill confidence among the fear-struck people.

Police have also detained some others for questioning, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R Ashoka told reporters.

Bangalore Divisional Manager Anil Kumar Agarwal  said, about 29,000 people from the northeast have left the city in the past three days, most of them by special trains, following the panic caused by rumours. About 9,000 people left on Friday, he said.

Ashoka also claimed the number of people leaving the state had come down today compared to the last two days when people fled following fear of reprisals in the wake of Assam violence.

In Chennai, over 1,000 people from the northeast were reported to have taken trains out of the city.  Gripped by fear over their safety following sporadic attacks targeting those from the northeast in Pune, several hundred people from the region living in Maharashtra have fled to their respective states over the last few days.
 
Chennai: Gripped by rumour fuelled fears of impending attacks on them, people from North East continued to flee the city with hundreds thronging the railway station and heading back home.

The Central Railway station here has been seeing a flow of anxious North Easterners desperate to get tickets for their onward journey in spite of assurances of safety and no untoward incident targetting them being reported.  

Police said though Tamil Nadu has never seen incidents of violence against people from the North East, reports of incidents and rumours in other states seem to be disturbing their parents back home, who want them to come back.  However, not many students are leaving the city.  

“The city's colleges have many students from the North East on the rolls, most of whom are living in the hostels or in groups. So not many of them feel the need to leave,” a student from the North East who did not wish to be named, said.  In a bid to reach out to the fleeing North Easterners, Chennai City Police today set up a new control room here to assist them round the clock.

The numbers that will function round the clock for any assistance are 9840295100, 9677066100 and 9789088100, it said.  Meanwhile, hundreds of people from the Northeast were seen thronging Chennai Central Railway Station on Friday evening, waiting to board trains leaving for their home states.  

Many had arrived from Coimbatore and nearby areas and were seen with luggage in the passenger waiting area.  A New Delhi report said, railways have pressed another special train from Bangalore,  taking the number of specials leaving from there in the last 48 hours to five.

Three thousand people bought tickets for the Guwahati-bound special train which left at 3PM on Friday from Bangalore.

A senior railway official said more special trains could be pressed into service if the rush of outgoing passengers continues.

Since August 15 about 15,000 people have left for Guwahati from Bangalore in special trains, the official said.  Additional coaches were also attached in regular trains from Mumbai and Pune to accomodate extra passengers to Northeast.

Railway Minister Mukul Roy had yesterday said that they had informed both the Home Ministry as well as the PMO about the sudden spurt in booking of tickets to Guwahati since August 15, following which special trains were introduced.

 “Generally, about 300 tickets are booked for Guwahati, which rose to 6000 in the last two days,” he said.  On the other hand, Bangalore Divisional Manager Anil Kumar Agarwal today told PTI that Railways have sold around 20,000 extra tickets to Guwahati and added that ticket sales went upto to 4,000 till 4 PM on Friday and was expected to rise by a few thousand more.
In Hyderabad, two Ministers from Assam visited some localities here on Friday.

Assam Ministers Pradyut Bordoloi (Power and Industry) and Rakib-UL-Hussain (Forests), and MLA Bikshapathi Yadav reviewed the situation in Anajaiahnagar and Siddiquenagar where a large number of Assamese live.

They attended a meeting called by Andhra Pradesh Minister for Home, Sabita Indira Reddy, at Cyberabad Police Commissioner's Office. Senior police officers briefed the Assam Ministers about the measures taken.  Later, Reddy, the two Ministers, and police officials visited Siddiquenagar and Anjaiahnagar and interacted with the Assamese residing in the area.
Bordoloi and Hussain thanked the AP government for ensuring safety of Assamese population.

Senior Hyderabad police officers visited two hotels in Kondapur area and persuaded about 60 employees hailing from Assam to stay back in Hyderabad, assuring them of safety.
Police had learnt that these employees had panicked and were about to leave the city.

South Central Railway said, extra coaches were being provided for the trains going to the North Eastern states, in view of the rush of passengers.  Two extra “General Second Class Coaches” would be attached to 18646 Hyderabad-Howrah East Coast Express tomorrow.

Three extra coaches would be attached to 12513 Secunderabad-Guwahati weekly Express on August 19.  Two Assam Ministers—Transport Minister Chandan Brahma and Agriculture Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka—told reporters that they were impressed by the steps taken by the Karnataka government to safeguard the interests of people from northeast. There was no need for them to panic and the state was safe to stay, they said.

Brahma thanked the Karnataka government for rushing to the help of the people from Assam and other states in the northeast.

“The government is very much in command of the situation and there is no cause for alarm for my people. Karnataka is a beautiful state and it is safe for them to continue their studies or work,” he said.

He said all those who had gone home will gradually return in one to four weeks time.

Deka said the Assam government has requested the parents of students studying in Karnataka not to pressure them to come home.

A Panaji report said, Goa Police on Friday asked the people from North East to inform if they received threats.  Police spokesman said that state government had assured safety to the people from North East living in Goa.  “The government has taken all measures, including sensitizing of district administration and police machinery throughout the state,” the spokesman said.  “If any person apprehends any threat to his or her safety...he or she may get in touch with the nearest Police Station or the Police Control Room.”

So far, Goa has not had any reports of people from the North East receiving threats, or rushing back to their home states.