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29,635 north-east people have fled Karnataka!

Last updated on: August 18, 2012 13:56 IST

29,635 north-east people have fled Karnataka!

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Vicky Nanjappa

The exodus of the north-eastern people from across south India continued on Saturday.

The official count of the people who have left Karnataka stood at 29,635 and till the filing of this report some 2000-odd people are waiting at the Bengaluru railway station to leave the city.

Hyderabad and Chennai are also witnessing mass exodus. While over 1000 people have left Hyderabad, 3000 north-east people have boarded trains from Chennai.

Veronica and Dorma were among those at the Bengaluru railway station. The two Manipuri girls appeared to be panic stricken and said that they want to take the next train out.

"We have been hearing of incidents, but have not faced any. We have been given a lot of assurances, but cannot afford to take any risk. Both these girls earn Rs 20,000 per month and this salary is very important to them. However, we are ready to let go of that for some time, as our families are very worried," said Veronica.

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Photographs: Reuters

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"We love the city and to be honest find it safer than many places in the north-east. It is just that our families are worried and we want to be with them. We will come back for sure as our bread and butter is here; we have been working here for the past 10 years," Dorma said.

Susan, a student from Sikkim, was worried about her education.

"I have been given an assurance that my attendance will be taken care of. I will come back after a month," she says. 

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Photographs: Reuters

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Most of the paranoia among the people in the north-east arises from the uncertainty about how events will unfold on August 20 (Eid).

They have been instilled with this fear that havoc would reign after August 20. Officials too say that the students have allayed the same fear with them and say that they would not want to be around the sensitive places after Monday.

If everything is alright then they would come back, officials pointed out.

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: , Karnataka

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Meanwhile, there are reports that in Bengaluru some tenants, who have Muslim owners, have allegedly been told to leave the city for now.

One student, who didn't wish to be named, alleged that her landlord asked her to leave as he was under pressure from his own community. However, many Muslim landlords have rubbished this version.

"The girls from north-east dress differently and have always been subject to rowdy harassment. We have very often chased away such boys who come in front of the houses and trouble these girls. Hence it is unfair for them to say that we have asked them to leave. If they feel unsafe we will protect them," says Mansoor Pasha, a landlord.

"Why do they say that Muslims will attack after the holy month of Ramzan? What do they mean when they say Muslims will not sin during the holy month and hence will wait for it to get over? Trust me, a pious Muslim will never attack or hurt anyone, leave alone a girl. The Quran bans it," Pasha adds.

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Photographs: Reuters

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The Bengaluru Police are in constant touch with the Imams and have requested them to continue a confidence-building exercise.

The Imams have assured that they would advise the youth not to indulge in any activity, which would cause a concern to the panic-stricken people of the north-eastern states.

A similar exercise is on at Hyderabad as well. A large number of north-eastern people residing in Cyberabad are afraid following the statements given by some leaders, speaking of retaliation for the Assam violence.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner Tirumala Rao informed that steps were being taken to ensure the safety of these people.

"We have set up additional forces to patrol the streets. In addition to this, elders in the Muslim community have been told to help build the confidence of the panic stricken people of north-east."

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Photographs: Reuters

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Meanwhile, the police in Bengaluru and Hyderabad have ruled out the communal angle to the entire issue.

The Bengaluru Police say that the first of the arrests in the case gave the indication that there was nothing communal. Out of the five boys arrested three were Muslims while the other two was a Christian and a Hindu.

The incidents are stray in nature and rowdy or' loafer' elements are resorting to threats just taking advantage of the situation.


Photographs: Reuters

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