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Updated: August 17, 2012 02:52 IST

Let's work together to stop exodus, says PM

Sandeep Joshi
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People from Assam and other northeast states wait at Bangalore City Railway station on Wednesday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
People from Assam and other northeast states wait at Bangalore City Railway station on Wednesday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Concerned at the exodus of professionals and workers from the northeast from Bangalore and other southern cities, the Union government on Thursday asked the State governments concerned to reach out to them and allay their fears so that they stay back.

Amid this development, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to people to remain vigilant and maintain peace at any cost. “We must work together to ensure that all people from other States do not feel threatened by rumour-mongering and SMSs,” he said at an Iftar hosted by him.

Dr. Singh said he had spoken to Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and was yet to speak with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Reddy, while he was constantly in touch with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on the situation in the State. “All political parties must work together to give a feeling of confidence to all affected people.”

The Prime Minister said the Karnataka government was taking all steps to quash rumour-mongering. He appreciated the visit of Karnataka Home Minister to the Bangalore railway station on Wednesday where people from the northeast had gathered to board trains to Guwahati.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was in touch with Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra governments and had asked police to monitor the flow of SMS and messages on social networking sites, which were allegedly being used to spread rumours.

Shinde’s warning

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said strict action would be taken against those responsible for spreading rumours. “I have asked Mr. Shettar to appeal to the people from the northeast not to pay any heed to rumours and remain calm.”

In its advisory, the MHA asked the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh governments to reach out to the leaders of the northeast communities and sensitise them to the steps being taken to provide security to those belonging to their States.

“Whoever is spreading rumours, we will catch them…we are following them,” Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh told journalists here.

MPs meet Sonia

Meanwhile, Congress MPs from the northeast called on party president Sonia Gandhi and expressed concern at the exodus of people of the region from the South.

According to Union Minister of State for Development of Northeast Paban Singh Ghatowar, who was also part of the delegation, Ms. Gandhi was told how panic had gripped people from the northeast living in these cities following rumours about possible attacks on them.

Chairman of Northeast MPs Forum and Congress MP from Arunachal Pradesh Mukul Mithi said they urged Dr. Singh and Chief Ministers of these States to provide adequate security to those belonging to the area. “It is a matter of serious concern,” he told journalists outside Parliament.

“The Centre and the States should take precautionary measures to stop these kinds of incidents…we would like to request the State governments concerned, particularly that of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi, to take steps to protect the people from the northeast,” he said.

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The only solution to this periodic problem, a solution that has been deliberately avoided since 1947 due to vote bank concerns, is to fully sanitise the India-Bangladesh border, scrap the farcical Illegal Migrants Determination by Tribunal Act - a legal joke that favours the illegal infiltrators - and ruthlessly drive out those infiltrators who have moved in and are becoming the majority community in Assam, Meghalaya, and West Bengal.

from:  JK Dutt
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 12:43 IST

these rumors are not just mental ego, it is real life they are living in. The government of India is doing nothing to condemn the illegal imigrants from Bangladesh but insures their secuirity. Why? Why is India's goverment so embarassed with Bangladeshis and quick to their help and not the original inhabitants? Are Bodos foreigners as so that this ethhic group of people should suffer, murdered, siezed of their properties of those immigrants and so...? Why is government beccome so blind and deef? Nationwide outcry is has been heard so long, what is government doing to solve this critical issue? I am quite aware that it may lead to widesread war agaist not only Bangladeshis but agaist his own fellow citizens. Wake up india. Solve the Bangladeshi immigrant issues now.

from:  Janosh
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 11:08 IST

Hope government will take strict action against those who spreading the rumours.

from:  Anilkumar
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 09:32 IST

it is deeply paining to see the terror and anguish of innocent young
students and people of NE, almost all leading a quiet life in several
south Indian towns. The strong and widespread panic among the common people is a sad
reflection on the faith and trust they have on the Govt, the nation's
leaders and the executive. Has the whole nation come to the brink of a
moral collapse? In the past, during severe calamities, people
themselves used to come together to maintain calm and maintain peace.
Has such soothing initiatives of NGOs and social groups become
something of a history today in urban India?

from:  S. Mundayoor
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 08:55 IST

This country was talking until recently about Hindus fleeing Pakistan to India. The reality in India today is that thousands of Indians of North Eastern origin have deserted Namma Bengaluru. Media is doing its usual job of screaming not to believe in rumors while showing Bangalore Railway platform with Guwahati bound train brimming to capacity. What a shame. I appeal to all friends at Bangalore to work out a public reception for Proud to be an Indian Mary Kom at Brigade Parade Ground - Cricket stadium immediately and request all NE friends to return and join the function. Do it fast and your time starts now.

from:  B.R. Natarajan
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 07:57 IST

The real issue seems to be more serious than what has been projected,
looking at the way the exodus is taking place. A reader had commented
suggesting that this is happening in BJP ruled states not knowing the
exodus has started from Chennai also.

from:  Krishnan
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 06:51 IST

It is the failure of Home Ministry and IB.Looks like "somebody" is testing Shinde's capabilities.

from:  Ganapathi
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 05:56 IST

One just cannot understand why these people from North East flee without
confirming the facts. Blindly believing the SMS and fleeing to the
station even by the educated North East IT professionals speaks volumes
of their innocence and ignorance. Such things really do not happen in
Bangalore, Chennai or any part of South India. Rumour mongers are having
a field day should be nabbed by the police first to stop this fear
psychosis and mass exodus.

from:  Victor Aluri
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 03:12 IST

It's just like we people are being treated as refugees in our own country. If we are not safe in our own country how could we expect to be safe on other countries?

from:  Avinash K
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 22:34 IST

@G Krishnan: Thanks for your overwhelming optimism. Railway officials
can neither exaggerate the number of tickets sold nor can they lie that
they are running two special trains.

from:  Pravimal Abhishek
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 20:45 IST

The statement of one of our sister's from NE that "nobody comes to our rescue when we are attacked" sums up the fear psychosis and trust deficit in our society today. We live in a jungle where each one is to his/her own self. As long as you are doing ok, all is fine. The day you get into trouble you realise what a fake world you live in, where one human being is scared or outright indifferent to another's troubles. In this scenario, the less said about govt. machinery the better. Police is the last resort for most. If you happen to get into the courts you are in even worse state unless of course you are politically connected or have tons of money in the backyard to be distributed to all the beggars that show up to help you.

from:  Rajnish
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 19:21 IST

It is very sad to see that people from one state do not feel safe in another state. The Central Govt has to take measures to reassure all citizens. It must also take steps to check migration from Bangladesh into India and push back them.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 18:43 IST

One thing I like about the current Home Minister. He is quite good at
warning the miscreants. He warned them in Maharashtra, now Karnataka.
Hope we get a home minister like 'SARDAR PATEL'.

from:  Satish Ingle
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 16:24 IST

The picture looks like a normal scene for any train departure across
any Indian metro, and hopefully it is that. It is difficult to
imagine that any untoward happening targeting any community can take
place in Bangalore, which is a great cosmopolitan city setting an
example to the rest of India. Some from the North Eastern states would
be wishing to go there only to check on the safety of their near and
dear ones, and not taking flight out of any safety concern of their
own where they live.

I hope the reports are exaggerated.

from:  G Krishnan
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 14:55 IST

Why is this happening only in a BJP ruled State. The BJP Govt., in Karnataka must ensure the safety of the NE people living there -

from:  Hariharan
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 14:27 IST

This is shameful,

Senior ministers and BJP leaders must go to B'lore and assure the people.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 13:27 IST

This discrimination against the NE citizens and Eastern Muslims has
been there for long .The reason why it was not discussed was due to
less media coverage .Now that ,people have started discussing ,I am
sure there is going to be a happy ending for this .Come on Media -
give more coverage to all the Indian borders suffering from ethnic and
racist discrimination -be it the valley ,the NE ,the elam or the Muslims in the punjab !! It is time we faced reality - the solution to
all these problems is the only way ahead !! Hope ,the government recognizes this !!

from:  Ram
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 13:16 IST

I found the minister's remarks ridiculous.How can rumour mongers be punished.It is a news that has been spreading due to the immense fear in poeple's mind because of the lukewarm response of the governement to settle the ethnic issues of Assam.
Instead of targeting on rumour mongers ,the government should help poeple to get rid of their fear through possible measures like deploying security forces in vulnerable areas,campiging for peace and so on.
It all shows that the government is failing to maintain interanal peace in the country.It is high time measures to be taken to book the perpetrators and bring normalcy in the country.

from:  divakaran pallikunnil
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 13:14 IST
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