Bangalore/New Delhi: The exodus of fear-struck people from the North East in Bangalore fuelled by rumours of impending violence against them continued unabated today, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stepped in calling for maintaining peace at “any cost”.
The Centre and the Karnataka government acted in tandem assuring the people of the North East safety and appealed to them not to fall prey to rumour-mongering while chief ministers of northeastern states including Tarun Gogoi(Assam) asked the people not to panic.
A day after 6,800 people from the North East left Bangalore by jam-packed trains, the main railway station was choc-a-block with hundreds from the region eager to return to their homes, in the backdrop of rumours of an impending attack on them in the aftermath of the Assam violence.
Special trains were also being operated by the Railways amid reports that people from the North East in Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune were also returning home.
Singh said all political parties must work together to give a feeling of confidence to all affected people.
“We must work together to ensure that all people from other states do not feel threatened by rumour mongering and SMSes. We have to maintain peace at any cost,” Singh said at an Iftaar hosted by him in New Delhi.
“They (Karnataka government) are taking all the steps to quash rumour mongering,” he added. Singh spoke to Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday night.
As the Karnataka government launched confidence building measures, including police patrolling in areas largely inhabited by the North East community, Shettar met representatives of organisations of people from the region at his official residence in Bangalore.
“There is nothing to worry. The entire government is with you. We will protect the interests of the northeast people,” he told reporters after chairing a high-level meeting.
Karnataka Home Minister R Ashoka said a probe has been launched to track elements spreading the rumours.
In Delhi, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said if rumours are spread, strict action will be taken against those who indulge in such activities.