Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Home R. Ashok on Friday announced the arrest of eight persons on the charges of attack, intimidation, sending false SMS over cell phones to natives of northeastern States and assured the people of the northeast that there was no need to panic as the situation in Bangalore and elsewhere in Karnataka was well under control.

Briefing presspersons after discussions with two Ministers from Assam — Minister for Transport Chandan Brahma and Minister for Agriculture Nilomoni Sen Deka — Mr. Ashok said several youths had been detained for interrogation. A meeting was also held with the heads of several educational institutions and directions had been issued for the provision of accommodation to students from the northeast who so desired.

Mr. Ashok said the government had directed the police to step up security in areas with a predominant presence of people from the northeast. Three companies of the Rapid Action Force had arrived in the city and would be deployed in certain vulnerable areas. “The number of people seeking to board trains bound for the northeast drastically reduced on Friday compared to what it was over the past two days,” he said.

The two Ministers from Assam said they were impressed by the steps taken by the Karnataka government to safeguard the interests of people from the northeast. The Ministers visited the Bangalore City Railway Station and several areas where people hailing from the northeast reside. They also had one-to-one meetings with several of the leaders from the northeast.

‘No cause for alarm’

Mr. Brahma and Mr. Deka thanked the State government for providing quick assistance to those affected. “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 the students from the northeast to continue their studies or the people who have come here to work.”

Second home

Mr. Deka said: “You have done a very good and efficient job in safeguarding our people. The students and others have told us that this State is like a second home for them and they will come back.” A majority of Assamese students going to other States came to Karnataka, which was giving livelihood to scores of poor people from the State.

He said due to the efforts of Karnataka Ministers — such as Mr. Ashok and Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar — more than 500 people who had booked their tickets for Friday revised their decision of travelling to Assam. “The Assam government has requested the parents of students studying in Karnataka not to pressure them to come home. This message was given by Mr. Gogoi at the all-party meeting held in Guwahati today [Friday],” Mr. Deka said.

The two Ministers went along with Mr. Ashok and Mr. Kumar to the railway station, interacted with the people and provided food packets for their journey. They said all those who had gone home would gradually return.