Students and workers from the north-eastern States continued to leave Chennai in large numbers on Friday, even as Chief Minister Jayalalithaa assured them that they were safe in Tamil Nadu.

The rush to board trains bound for Howrah and Guwahati continued, with hundreds of youngsters, including women, purchasing tickets to these destinations.

Southern Railway operated special trains and attached extra coaches to scheduled trains.

Asking people not to believe baseless rumours, police maintained that there was no specific threat to the North-East population.

Toll-free helpline numbers (9840295100, 9677066100 and 9789088100), which would be functional round the clock, were set up by the Chennai Police.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said the Tamil Nadu had always been peaceful and the government would ensure that people from all parts of India faced no difficulty.

“Instructions have been given to Commissioners/Superintendents of Police to enhance surveillance in areas where those from the North-East stay. We are telling them not to panic and their safety is paramount,” Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) S. George said.

Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy held a meeting with office-bearers of an association of North-East youth to reassure them.

“There is no input of any threat to these people. There has been no instance of any untoward incident,” he said.

At the Chennai Egmore and Central railway stations, the rush to board trains bound for Howrah, Guwahati and Dibrugarh continued.

“A large number of people have purchased tickets and are waiting for special trains. We have deployed adequate manpower to regulate and guide the crowd. Besides scheduled trains, a couple of special trains are expected to be operated on Friday night,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Railways) Thillai Natarajan said.

Additional General Manager (Southern Railway) G. Narayanan said 28 coaches were attached to different trains. A close watch was being maintained on the rush for further addition of coaches. “Since trains from departing Bangalore to Guwahati are overcrowded, many are reaching Chennai by trains and buses,” a senior police official added.