‘We held counselling sessions for them but they were keen to go back home’

The mass exodus of northeast communities from Bangalore following unsubstantiated rumours of attacks since Wednesday has had a telling effect on the private security agencies and the hospitality sector in Bangalore.

A field officer of a private security agency, who did not wish to be named, said that nearly 40 security guards from his company, all from the northeast, had left for home.

It would affect business as they were deployed at various installations, including the Bengaluru International Airport.

Losing clientele

“We promised all arrangements so that they can feel safe; but they were very scared. They said that they had been threatened by others and that they had heard rumours about northeast residents being killed. Their families also worried and wanted them to come home,” he said. “We are worried of losing the clientele,” he added.

While the customers want immediate replacement, it takes time to recruit fresh candidates, the officer said.

Meanwhile, Shereen (name changed), a native of Manipur, who had moved to the city in 2000 and has been running a beauty parlour since four years in Victoria Layout, spoke of the vicious SMS going round about attacks after Ramzan.

The Austin Town resident said that she hasn’t sent her 10-year-old son to school since Tuesday. “I was about to book my tickets to Manipur in the evening but after I attended the peace meeting today where support was ensured by the police, I decided to stay back,” she said.

P.C. Rao, general secretary of Bruhat Bangalore Hotel Owners Association, told The Hindu that at least 20 per cent of the staff employed by hotels and fine dining restaurants hailed from the northeast. With a majority of them fleeing, the sector is considerably affected. “We have held counselling sessions for many employees and assured them of proper security. However, they were keen to go back home,” he said.

Mr. Rao, who has a catering business, said that he himself has hired about 30 people from the northeast, who have all left.

Meanwhile, the owner of a chain of Chinese restaurants said that his head chef, who had brought about 35 workers with him from the northeast, returned to Assam on Thursday evening. “I tried to convince him and even went to the railway station; but it was of no use. I have no other alternative but to scale down operations,” he said.