Passengers travelling to Guwahati stretch out their hands through the window of a train to collect food being distributed by an NGO in Calcutta on Sunday. (Reuters)
Bangalore, Aug. 19: When the nation celebrates Id tomorrow, the country’s IT capital will turn into a fortress.
Police sources said 17,000 security personnel would patrol the streets of the Karnataka capital that saw an exodus of the Northeast community following rumours of revenge attacks for the recent violence in Assam.
City police commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji said such presence of security forces would ensure peace and instil confidence among those from the Northeast, some of whom were seen doing their weekend shopping.
Central paramilitary forces have been deployed, especially at sensitive locations, vital installations and near defence establishments. “I’m sure this kind of security will ensure nothing untoward happens,” Mirji said.
While three companies each of the CRPF and the RAF are already in place, 25 platoons of the Karnataka State Reserve Police, 35 platoons of the Central Armed Reserve, 1,500 trainee policemen and 600 home guards will also be part of the security blanket tomorrow.
The police commissioner held a meeting with representatives of local Muslim groups who promised orderly conduct of Id prayers at specified locations.
Nagaland minister D.Y. Sema arrived in the city to reassure people from the state even as the rush of panicky feet to stations ebbed to a trickle. The minister, who was accompanied by inspector-general of Nagaland police Z. Kikon and parliamentary secretary for social welfare Chotisuh Sazo, held a meeting with Karnataka home minister R. Ashok.
“I appreciate the help of the central and state governments and the people of Karnataka who did so much to make our people from the Northeast comfortable in spite of the exodus (over the last few days),” Sema said.
The minister requested Ashok to visit Nagaland and meet those who had left Bangalore and invite them back. “He has accepted the invitation and would make a visit soon,” Sema said.
The team from Nagaland then accompanied the home minister to visit a small group from the Northeast who had chosen to stay back.The visiting minister later met a group of minority representatives.
Assam ministers Chandan Brahma and Nilamani Sen Deka had visited the city yesterday. “We are satisfied with the security arrangements and hope the people who left will return soon,” Sema added.
For the second successive day, no special train left for Guwahati as the number of those leaving has come down.
Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar called for more investigations amid allegations that mischief-makers in Pakistan had uploaded the doctored Internet images that played a part in the exodus. “We must take up the issue with Pakistan,” he said.
While people from the Northeast were largely missing from their regular haunts like coffee shops and restaurants, many appeared for the National Defence Academy entrance exam.
“I had to bring my son for the NDA test,” said a Manipuri man who has lived in the city for more than 15 years but did not want to reveal his identity. “Of course, there is a tinge of fear. But I couldn’t have asked my son not to appear.”