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Pakistan's 'perfect ploy' led to NE exodus

August 18, 2012 22:47 IST

With the government confirming that the majority of messages which led to the huge exodus of North Easterners from south Indian states being generated out of Pakistan, it seems to be the perfect ploy that worked very well.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh confirmed on Saturday night that messages and doctored images of the Assam violence emerged out of Pakistan which led to the ongoing panic.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau who have been investigating the matter say that while the panic began due to incidents within the country, the fuel was added to the fire by some groups in Pakistan.

This is not a new ploy and it has been seen in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid and the Godhra episodes as well.

During the investigation it was found that doctored images of North Eastern people being subject to atrocities were used. This created a scare which forced them to flee.

It was also found that such pictures were circulated on some websites and blogs by some Pakistanis. This made the people to believe that such incidents were in fact taking place while in reality there were none.

The other part of the ploy was to send out messages warning people of attacks. These people managed to create a big scare through these messages. Moreover, it was also found that some of the messages were aimed at inciting communal tensions with the hope that some Muslims would actually carry out an attack, thus leading to panic and destability.

The home secretary said that pictures of devastation that had taken place during different cyclone crises were used. These pictures were morphed and people were made to believe this was part of the retaliation.

The technical team of the agencies working on the issue found that these pictures emerged from Pakistan. They also found that the messages that were being circulated also emerged from that country.

Based on these messages, some blogs and websites bit the bait. To make matters worse some activists took printouts in thousands and circulated it among the people.

Sources in the IB tell rediff.com that the problem in Assam which was due to land issues got a communal colour to it.

"Pakistan used this to their advantage. Using some of the pro-Bangladeshi groups to retaliate would have been too obvious and hence this ploy was used," the official stated.

"Some persons watching the incidents in Assam decided to begin a hate campaign and what originally started off on a small scale turned out to be a major operation. The agencies in India have not pin-pointed on any terror group as of now. They have a strong cyber capability and it is one of the many layers which caused the panic," he added.

It was also found that some leaders in Assam supporting the cause of the Bangladeshis were also contacted through such messages. They too spread around the messages. These people and groups such as the MULTA were looking to retaliate and groups in Pakistan were trying to help them.

For these Pakistani groups the panic that they managed to cause was a victory by itself. They have managed to disrupt the harmony among the people in the North East. The industrial sectors in Karnataka, Chennai and Hyderabad have already taken a beating with nearly 30,000 security guards from these cities staying away from work.

Many companies too have taken the brunt due to lack of workers. It is nothing but economic terrorism, agencies pointed out.

The police feel that this incriminating proof of a Pakistani hand should be able to now convince the people of North East that these were just rumours and they can return safely to those cities which provided them livelihood.

Vicky Nanjappa