While nine persons were arrested for allegedly targeting and attacking students from the northeast, the police are still probing the reason for the assaults. Ten persons were beaten up the past week, prompting fear among the community in the city.
Some of the victims have claimed that they were asked by their attackers if they were from Assam, leading the investigators to question if the assaults were a fallout of the Bodo-Muslim riots in Assam, which also sparked the protest and subsequent violence in Mumbai on Saturday.
An officer, requesting anonymity, stated that clips of violence in Assam have been circulated in the city, leading to the attacks. Students and professionals were attacked on August 8, 9 and 11 by groups of youngsters in Kondhwa and Cantonment areas of Pune.
Kahomdai Panmei, a 28-year-old professional, who was attacked on August 8 said: “I don’t know why I was attacked. I was beaten up with iron rods, without knowing what my mistake is.” Premanand Khomdrom was attacked on Thursday, which has led the police to see a coordinated plan behind the attacks.
The victims, however, have asked for support from the locals. “We do not know why people are attacking us. We just want to tell them we are not the ones causing violence in Assam, or in Myanmar. We are simple people: all we want is to study and work in peace in Pune,” Rock Lungleng from the North-East Students’ Forum said. He said the police were cooperative.
“The incident has sparked panic even amongst our parents. They want us to come back. But we are fine, the local community is supporting us,” he said. At a meeting held on Sunday, the police assured them of security, and stated that even leaders of various communities had been told to help them.