The exodus of people from the North East from Bangalore and other cities and the panic calls from home seem to be bothering those from the region living in the city as well. Many beauty parlours in Coimbatore employ people from the North East. Those running the parlours are perturbed by the way it has affected their employees. Shanmuga Kumar, franchisee, Page 3, says there has been a panic situation in his parlour since yesterday. Newspaper articles triggered the paranoia. So did the many phone calls they received from home. For many, it is mainly the family pressure that makes them feel they should go home. Says Angel Maibam, senior hairstylist in Page 3: “I have been in Coimbatore for years. Nothing unpleasant has happened to me as of now. It is just that when my parents are alarmed, I don’t know how to convince them.”

Anil Gurung, 22, who works in Naturals, Brookefields, says he is scared to walk down the road. “What if someone comes from behind and attacks me?” he asks. Says Veena Shetty, area manager, Naturals: “I have come here to talk to the employees here and reassure them.” She says the parlour provides moral and material support to the employees so that they feel safe and comfortable. “We ensure they never leave late after work. The girls are accompanied by local staff.”

In the midst of all this gloom is Cali Kharibam of Naturals. She has lived in Coimbatore for 16 years now. “When someone says they are leaving for home, I ask them, ‘Have you seen anything?’ It’s the rumours that have fuelled all the fear. I’ve always been comfortable and felt safe in the South and I try to tell them that they must not be afraid without reason.”

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