Bangaloreans on Saturday came out in support of fellow citizens from the northeast, who have been fleeing Bangalore in the wake of reported insecurity and incidents of intimidation.
Several civil society organisations and educational institutions came together under the banner of the Northeast Solidarity Forum to hold a candlelight vigil at Town Hall.
Former IPS officer H.T. Sangliana asked people not to heed rumours, and not to panic. “You should continue here with your jobs,” he said. “The city is absolutely safe for people from everywhere,” he said, ruling out any political agenda. Anthony Sebastian of ECHO, who coordinated the candlelight vigil, said that Bangalore, being a peace loving city, did not want to lose its citizens. “The government must intervene,” he said.
Meanwhile, a mass harmony march, planned by political and progressive outfits, was stopped by the police. The protesters were detained for a short while at the Cubbon Park police station. Led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPO, Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, Praja Vimochana Chaluvali, Democratic Youth Federation and the Students Federation of India, the protesters shouted slogans outside the Cubbon Park police station.
K.S. Vimala, vice-president of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association, questioned the decision of the police. “We wanted to hold the rally only to tell northeast residents that we’re all with them and they are secure. Why were the police stopping us?” She said that while the police were allowing hordes of ABVP and RSS workers to flock around the police station, where there is a real crisis situation, they were dissuading democratic methods of protest. “When the messages were discovered on August 14 itself, why did the police remain silent?” she asked.
Sardar Ahmed Quraishi, State president of the Tipu Sultan United Front, expressed anguish, terming the situation created in the State part of a “political drama”. “It is all done by anti- social elements,” he added.