Sinlung /
17 August 2012

Exodus To Northeast India

UPDATE (5:27 PM IST) 'If you feel unsafe, come to our homes, mosques'

Leaders from the Muslim community reassure students from the North-East about their safety in Bangalore.

UPDATE (5:10 PM IST) The Ministry of Home Affairs has identified the website responsible for spreading rumours. The Ministry has also ordered investigations into the owner of the blog. The Mumbai police and the Intelligence Bureau are also investigating.

UPDATE (4:05 PM IST) Hyderabad Police set up helpline. The helpline numbers in Hyderabad are 040-27852333 and 040-23261166; in Cyberabad, the numbers are 9490617100 and 9490617370.


UPDATE (4:00 PM IST) Inflammatory Messages.

Air fares to Kolkata, Guwahati shoots as demand spikes. Air fares on the Bangalore-Guwahati route have peaked to Rs 18,000 for a one-way ticket.

A leading online travel portal has reported a 300% increase in the search for tickets between Bangalore and various northeastern states over the past week.

To check spread of rumours which has led to exodus of northeast people from certain states, government has banned from bulk SMSs and MMSs for 15 days across the country starting Friday.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh said "We will detect those who are spreading rumours. Those responsible for the exodus from Bangalore will not go scot free,".

UPDATE (2:02 PM IST) The Northeast Students Federation (NSF) Bangalore held a meeting at St Joseph’s College to instill confidence among friends and classmates of its members.

NSF members said they were planning to arrange accommodation for students at St Joseph's college premises till the situation improved.


Northeast migrants from Mumbai were seen in large numbers at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus waiting to board the Guwahati Express.

UPDATE (1:15 PM IST) Dr. Martin Chhangte of Hyderabad Mizo Association (HMA) says “Rumours such as software professionals from North-East have been asked to go back in Bangalore are worrying people here. Should we stay here, ask students who have come recently. Isolated attacks covered by media are worrying their parents,”.

Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil, a Samajwadi Party MP, Ramgopal Yadav also stated in Rajya Sabha that social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter should be closed for a few days to prevent the spreading of rumours that are prompting thousands of Northeastern students and people to flee the cities.

UPDATE (12:05 PM IST) Manipuri girl Attacked at Pune

According to Imphal Free Press : 3 motorcycle borne assailants made an attempt to kill a young Manipuri studying at Pune today morning.

According to reports received by IFP, the said incident happened around 9 am today near the Dr DY Patil Dental College located at Pimpree area of Pune.

The victim who escaped death by a hair breadth has been identified as one Rojina Chirom, daughter of Chirom Ranjit of Singjamei Chirom Leikai, Imphal.

She is studying in the 3rd year of Dental Surgeon course at the college.

According to Rojina, as she was crossing the road from her hostel to buy some materials for practical from a store selling medical instruments three assailants on a motorcycle swooped down on her.


The Prime Minister is now speaking in the Lok Sabha, reiterating the right of the Northeastern people to live in any part of the country they so desire. “I  rise not to debate but to add my voice to the feelings that have been expressed in this august house”, he said. The Prime Minister also made an appeal to all the political parties to join hands and send a message to the Northeast “that all our people are one”.


The railways had sold 9,718 tickets for the two special trains that headed to Guwahati on Thursday night.


The exodus so far confined to Bangalore has now spread to some other parts with people of the northeast region living in Mysore, Mangalore and Kodagu arriving in Bangalore in trains and buses and rushing to railway counters to buy tickets.




Railways added two more coaches to the Azad Hind Express for Howrah to accommodate people.
 PUNE Railway Station

 UPDATE (10:30 AM IST)

Hundreds from NE flee Pune, minister blames social media. “We are requesting the central government in helping shut down social networking sites found to be involved in spreading rumours,” Patil said.


There is an indication that the fundamentalist group Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena - the group that was behind the attack on Prashant Bhushan inside the Supreme Court Premises.

They have been sending SMS messages and writing on the Facebook that the Muslims are planning a massive attack on them after ID and that they should leave Bangalore.

They spread rumors that there have already been many attacks and gave a mobile number to contact in case of attacks or fear. One civil society person contacted that number and asked the person who claimed to be head of the Sena for details on the attacks.

He said that he did not have any details but had only heard of attacks. That is where we stand. Another rumour spread that seven people had died in Nelasandra and three more in Koramangala etc and the outskirts of Bangalore. Inquiries showed that they were false rumours. Persons who visited the railway station tell us that around 100 persons belonging to this or some other similar outfit are standing at the station with lathis on the pretext of protecting people from the NE.

All of it seems to be part of a well worked out plan to cause panic through false rumors. They have also been threatening people. This morning there was a threat on the Sena facebook more or less like "You supporters of Bangladeshis, if you do in Delhi what you are doing in other places we will break both your hands and legs." Another message said "Instead of punishing the Bangladeshis you are providing trains. You are anti-national." (this is paraphrase, not the exact wording)


After Bangalore, Chennai too sees exodus

It is all chaos at the Bangalore City Station as people from the Northeast scramble for a toehold on a special train bound for Guwahati on Thursday. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

It is all chaos at the Bangalore City Station as people from the Northeast scramble for a toehold on a special train bound for Guwahati on Thursday. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Large number of migrants workers from Assam and other northeast states at Bangalore Railway station on Wednesday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
Large number of migrants workers from Assam and other northeast states at Bangalore Railway station on Wednesday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

South India — which has never seen non-locals fleeing the region for fear of their lives — continued to witness the unprecedented exodus of citizens from the Northeast on Thursday, with thousands from Chennai too rushing to the railway station to take the train home.
In Bangalore, where it all began, their flight continued unabated with 7,500 more people boarding four Guwahati-bound trains — three special trains apart from the regular Bangalore-Guwahati Express.
On Thursday evening, nearly 3,000 workers and students, mostly from Assam, were seen waiting at Chennai Central, eager to board the two Guwahati-bound trains that were scheduled for departure at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Friday. A number of them had arrived from Coimbatore and Madurai.
“Nothing has happened till now, but we are very sure something really bad is going to happen. Our Bangalore friends have said we have to leave before August 20,” said Bishnu, 21, who hails from Dibrugarh and works as a waiter in a restaurant in Chennai.
Chennai Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy told The Hindu that no complaint of violence against natives of the Northeast had been reported so far. “They don’t need to worry at all, they are safe. We will make sure there is no untoward situation,” Mr. Tripathy said.
But migrant workers from the Northeast appeared too panicky at the moment to pay heed to such assurances. “Incidents have already been reported from Hyderabad, Bangalore and from Kerala. I am very scared,” said Bishnu, who has been working in Chennai for the past three years. “It was never like this before. Everyone is extremely scared this time.”
“We are employed as security guards at the Siruseri IT Park,” said Bindeswar, who huddled with his colleagues at the Central station. “We spoke to our companies today but none of them agreed to take responsibility for our safety.” They heard rumours that four people had already been killed in Bangalore and said they did not wish to meet the same fate. “Our families back home are petrified. They want us back as soon as possible,” said Bindeswar.
Most people fleeing Chennai happen to hail from Assam; though smaller, separate groups from Manipur and Mizoram, were waiting to leave too. The sense of panic is evident in the student community as well, according to college heads. “This is mainly because their friends from Bangalore are sending them all sorts of messages and they are falling prey to rumours. We have assured them that they are safe here,” said a professor at Loyola College.


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