Overcome by a sense of fear after rumours of attacks and fuelled by the exodus from Bengaluru, northeasterners in Chennai are also leaving the city, even as police assured them that they were safe.
Railway officials acknowledged a spurt in ticket sales but did not want to definitely say if this was a Bengaluru-type exodus.
"Around 700 tickets have been sold (since Thursday night). This number is certainly abnormal compared to the usual ticket sales trends," railway officials said, adding additional train services had been operated since August 16.
They also pointed to the regular migration, in and out of Chennai, of north-eastern states-based labourers, especially from Assam and Odisha. On Thursday, hundreds of people from the northeast thronged Egmore Railway station waiting to board trains to Guwahati that left early on Friday.
"There is no need for any apprehension... there has been no instances of any violence. They don't need to panic. We see only regular movement of people," Police Commissioner J K Tripathy maintained, denying any exodus.
With a sizeable number of north-easterners employed in the hospitality and construction sectors in Chennai, some are opting to leave as they don't want to take a chance, official sources said.
Hotel employee Rajesh said his friends from Bengaluru had expressed apprehensions that Chennai would be next in line (of alleged attacks), even though no incident had been reported in Chennai or elsewhere in Tamil Nadu.
Police said there was no incident of violence targetting northeastern persons and assured them that Chennai is safe for them. Many from the northeast, mostly students of popular city colleges, preferred to stay back, confident that the city is not prone to communal attacks.