Bangalore/Chennai/Pune: The exodus of people from the northeast from Karnataka to their home states driven by fears of attacks subsided today but there was no let up for the third consecutive day in the numbers of those fleeing Chennai and Pune.
In Bangalore, railway officials said the number of those wanting to leave the city had dwindled following assurances from the Centre and the state government as also deployment of six companies of the Rapid Action Force in the city. About 30,000 northeast people have left the city in the last three days.
In Chennai, people from northeast continued to exit the city for the third day with hundreds thronging the railway station and heading back home.
The Pune railway station witnessed fear-stricken residents crowding the ticket counters in large numbers, desperate to head to their home states.
The Centre today said adequate protection is being given by state governments to these people and termed as "false" and "fabricated" reports to the contrary.
"Protection is being given by state governments. Some miscreants, undesirable elements and anti-social elements are spreading rumours that there is no protection to people of the northeast in South India. It is unwarranted. It is totally false and fabricated to create panic among people", Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy told reporters.
Police patrolling was stepped up in Bangalore in areas prominently inhabited by people from the northeastern states, officials said.
Unlike the past few days, no special trains were announced today. Over a 100 from the northeast waited outside the city railway station to leave for their home states, fearing reprisals for the Assam violence.
"Based on ticket sales, we will arrange for special trains. As of now, the sales are slow paced," a senior official said. Special trains will be considered once ticket sales crosses 2,500 a day, he said.
Cracking the whip in the wake of the exodus, Bangalore
police arrested six persons yesterday on charges of attack, intimidation and sending "false" SMSes to people of the region.
Police said though Tamil Nadu has never seen incidents of violence against people from the northeast, reports of incidents and rumours in other states seem to be disturbing their parents back home, who want them to come back.
"The city's colleges have many students from the northeast on the rolls, most of whom are living in the hostels or in groups. So not many of them feel the need to leave," a student from the northeast, who did not wish to be named, said.
In Pune, despite stepped up efforts by authorities, social organisations and help groups to remove the fear stalking hundreds of students and workers from Assam and Manipur, rattled by attacks in the last four days in Kondhwa, Hadapsar and Cantonment areas of the city, many of them have headed back home, saying they would return once the situation "stabilises".
"We are returning as our parents are worried. I will come back but as of now I am leaving with nine of my friends from Imphal," said a student at the railway station.
Police believe that doctored MMSes and SMSes were the main provocation behind the attacks since August 12 in which about 15 NE residents in certain localities were targeted.
Two of the 13 persons arrested by police reportedly confessed that the MMSes and SMSes that depicted violent incidents in Myanmar and Assam turned them vengeful, it said.
After approaching Facebook, Youtube and Google to remove some "objectionable links" and five videos in respect of the Assam violence, Pune police have now filed a complaint against "unknown persons" under the IT act, accusing them of exploiting the social networking sites to spread offensive false and intimidating messages.
First Published: Saturday, August 18, 2012, 14:31