An all-party meeting chaired by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi here on Friday appealed to people from the northeast, living outside the region, not to panic on account of rumours and asked those who had fled to return to their places of work and study.

A resolution urged the people to take note that all States, including Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, had assured people hailing from the northeast of full protection.

The Assam government, however, expressed concern over stray incidents of physical attacks on people from the region. An official release said it was concerned over rumours being spread in many parts of the country that youth from the northeast, Assam in particular, were being threatened with dire consequences and asked to return home.

The government appealed to all sections of people, political parties, the media and NGOs not to fall prey to rumours and verify facts from the control room set up at the headquarters of the Assam Police Special Branch here (telephone number 0361-2380620). It has appointed IPS officer Mridulananda Sarma (cellphone 94350-85487) nodal officer.

At the all-party meeting, Mr. Gogoi apprised the participants of his telephonic talk with Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, urging them to take measures to instil confidence in the people from the northeast to prevent further exodus.

“I must appreciate the steps taken by my counterparts. We have to create a congenial atmosphere and instil confidence so that they [panic-stricken persons from the region] go back soon.”

The Chief Minister appealed to all political parties to work for restoration of peace and harmony in the violence-hit districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and other areas of Assam. He said the involvement of political parties, local leaders, civil society, NGOs, home guards, village defence and police personnel was of the utmost necessity for restoration of peace and harmony and to prevent recurrence of incidents. “It’s not the time to indulge in mudslinging [and make bids] to gain political mileage. We have to exercise restraint for at least two to three months till the dust settles,” he said.

The meeting resolved to take steps for speedy return of normality and social harmony in the affected areas.

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