Though people from the Northeast living in the city feel safe, students admit that recurring reports of the ‘exodus’ from Bangalore and Chennai, apart from rumours being spread through SMS, have instilled fear in them.
All seemed calm on the Manipal University campus, with G.K. Prabhu, a member of the management at the university, saying that there had been no report of students leaving the town. In a series of meetings held here on Friday to reassure students from Northeast, students themselves exhorted for calm in the wake of rumours and distorted news.
“Mangalore is safe, and in my time here, I have not experienced any violence. Have faith in the local people here,” said Kaini Cecilia, who came to the city from Nagaland eight years ago, and now works as a lecturer in a college in Ullal. “I work in a Muslim-dominated place, and yet I feel very safe there. There is no proof in the rumours that there will be violence if Northeast students don’t leave before Ramzan ends,” she said.
P.K. Milan, a second year M.Com student from Manipur, said there was no threat, and therefore ruled out leaving the city. Banri, a student from Meghalaya, while iterating that Mangalore was safe, also said it would put the students at ease to know the additional security measures taken by the police.
Similarly, while expressing confidence in the city, many students said they found it hard to reassure their anxious parents of their safety.
“Our parents call us everyday and it is very difficult to convince them. It would be assuring if the police set up a helpline for the Northeast students in the district,” said Adarsh Sharma from Manipur.
Although most students said they were aware of the rumours regarding “assault” on students from the Northeast in the State, very few said they had received those SMS or threat calls. Thabia Sonam, a second year PUC student from Arunachal Pradesh, said that his cousin in Bangalore forwarded him an SMS which alleged some violence.
Maringmei Arvin, a third year B.A. student of St. Aloysius College, and who is from Manipur, said: “Seeing the exodus on TV and reading in the newspapers has made us very scared. Some of my friends have felt like leaving the city.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police D. Dharmaiah assured the students of protection, and asked them to call control room (100, 0824-2220800) in case of emergency or if they receive messages and calls from unknown persons.