New Delhi, Aug 16(PTI): Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Thursday warned of strict action against those who spread rumours leading to an exodus of people belonging to the north-east from Karnataka.
“If rumours are spread, strict action will be taken against those who indulge in such activities,” he told reporters outside Parliament House.
He said the Prime Minister and he had spoken to the Karnataka chief minister, requesting him to ask the people to share information on rumour mongers.
He said the situation in the state was peaceful, but extra trains have been pressed into service for Assam to help people who want to leave Karnataka. Shinde said 300 people left on Wednesday night and two extra trains are pressed into service today for Assam.
A large number of people from the northeast, including students, reside in Karnataka, particularly in Bangalore where they are employed in call centres, hotels, beauty parlours and private security services, among others.
Over 5,000 panic-stricken people from North Eastern states fled Bangalore on Wednesday after rumours of attacks targeting the community spread.
Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is holding a high-level meeting on Thursday to tackle the situation.
The stabbing of a Tibetan student by two motorcycle-borne men in Mysore on August 14 added fuel to the fears of the North Eastern people.
The police chief of the state, Lalrokhuma Pachuau, who himself is from the North Eastern state of Manipur, told PTI today that the exact number of people who fled the city was not known as many bound for Guwahati were regular passengers, and not those leaving following the rumours.
When the PTI correspondent met a small group of people at the railway station, they said they were expecting the railways to announce special trains to Guwahati.
“We want to be with our families in Assam. We have been informed that some people are planning to attack us as our community was attacked in Mumbai and other parts of the country,” one traveler said.
“We do not want to take any risk as nobody comes to our rescue when we are attacked,” said Monica.
Railway officials had said yesterday that they had sold more than 5000 tickets for northeast destinations.
Members belonging to various organisations, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh visited the railway station and tried to convince the fleeing people that no violence would be perpetrated against them and Karnataka was much safer than Assam.
Pachuau, the director general of police, dismissed as baseless the rumours that people from the North East might be targeted and said not a single case of assault or verbal threat against them had been reported in the state.
“The situation is completely peaceful. Not even a single incident related to the north-east people has been reported in the whole state,” Pachau said.