Students say their parents back home were anxious about their safety

A helpline has been set up for people from Northeast and they must not leave Mangalore, which is an important city for education, said Oscar Fernandes, Rajya Sabha member and senior Congress leader.

Mr. Fernandes was speaking to students from the northeast and Tibet studying in M.V. Shetty Hostel, Kankanady, on Saturday. The students study nursing and physiotherapy in the city.

“I don't think anything will happen but in case of any such situation, please call (the helpline),” he said.

Assuring them that they were all safe here, he said the Deputy Commissioner and all local political parties were supporting them. “There is no need to go back, let me assure you,” he said. He was in touch with student leaders and MPs from the Northeast and would visit Assam if required. Leaders and ministers of Assam were supposed to visit the State. Visits had been made to the Bangalore railway station and the youth working in that city were urged not to leave the city. “We should work together, there is no difference between citizens,” he said.

He said that all politicians, corporators, and the Deputy Commissioner were geared to help the students and the country's Prime Minister and Home Minister were aware of the situation. Somebody was trying to create panic and the students' fear was justified. “We appreciate your concern,” he said. “Don't say it is only a rumour,” said one student. While nothing would happen, there could be “some truth (in the rumour) and we don't want to be that (targeted),” he said. Many of them said their parents were worried about them. The issue had come up at a time when their examinations were on and it could affect their career. “No one from that community (police) has come to reassure us,” said Doodle, a student from Assam. Some students said they did not think that the exodus of people to the Northeast would happen in Bangalore, an international city. Tsering a Tibetan student, and her friend said that they felt scared after reading reports of a Tibetan boy being stabbed in Mysore.

U.T. Khader, MLA, said the State Government was trying to find out who was spreading the rumours. He said that the issue was a test for the students, who should face the problem with confidence as in future they would have to face many more challenges tougher than the current issue. “About Mangalore, we will always be with you,” he said. He said that Ramzan could be celebrated with the Northeast friends.

Inaocha, a student, said she was in Mangalore in 2006 when the pub attack took place. However, she and Aneshwori, her friend, said that everyday life was peaceful in Mangalore.

Two college girls said that they were harassed by some persons in the city in the last few days.

Tarawathi, warden of the hostel, said the examinations were scheduled for August 23. It had been postponed once (not due to any reason related to this issue), she said.

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