Bangalore cops scotch rumours as northeast
Thursday scotched rumours that students from northeastern region
living in the city would be attacked in retaliation for the ethnic
violence in Assam, even as over 5,000 of them fled to Guwahati by
special trains late Wednesday and in
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar Thursday assured protection to
students from the northeast in Bangalore as well as other parts of
"Our police will offer full protection to you all. There is no
reason to worry. Believe in our government and not in rumours,"
Shettar told about 200 northeastern students at his official
Warning "anti-social elements" of strict action for spreading
rumours and causing fear among the northeastern students, Shettar
said not a single attack had been reported to police so far.
"We have set up two helplines in the city police control room to
complain about any threat or warning to you by anyone in person or
through any medium. We have set up special squads to act against
rumour mongers and mischievous elements," Shettar said.
Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashoka, who holds the home portfolio,
said the helplines - 080-2225-0999 and 080-2294-2222 - will be
open on 24x7 basis.
"We have intensified patrolling and stepped up security in and
around colleges, offices, public places, markets, railway
stations, bus stands and in localities across the city where
northeastern students reside in large numbers," Ashoka said.
According to police, there are about 240,000 people from the
northeast in Bangalore, which has population of nine million. Most
people from the region are students, security guards or in the
Earlier, Shettar met Ashoka and police officials to review the law
and order across the state and measures taken to ensure the safety
and security of the people from the north-east.
"Bangalore is not only cosmopolitan but also a safe city for
anyone, especially those from others states including the
northeast," he said.
"Students from all regions have been living in the city peacefully
for over 10-12 years. We have not come across a single incident of
attack of any kind on them," he added.
Earlier, police scotched rumours and dissuaded northeast students
from leaving the city, even as even as around 5,000 of them fled
to Guwahati by special trains late Wednesday and early Thursday.
"We are assuring students and others from the northeast residing
in Bangalore or other parts of Karnataka that they are safe,"
Bangalore Deputy Commissioner of Police Vincent S. D'Souza told
"We are using SMS, social media, TV channels, radio and print
media to spike the rumours," he added.
Wild rumours gripped Karnataka that people from the northeast
would be attacked after Id-ul-Fitr Aug 20 to avenge the Assam
ethnic violence that left 74 people dead.
"We had to arrange at short notice two special trains of 20-22
coaches each around midnight to Guwahati in addition to the daily
Bangalore-Guwahati express and Bangalore-Howrah express because a
whopping 6,000 unreserved tickets for northeast bound trains were
sold since Wednesday afternoon," South Western Railway spokesman
Suvankar Biswas told IANS.
As regular trains to Howrah and Guwahati were fully booked for
over a week due to holidays since Wednesday till Monday, all those
desperate to leave the city were forced to buy unreserved tickets
and board the first available train to Assam.
"Even those who could not get reservation to Howrah or Guwahati
opted to buy tickets up to Chennai so as to catch any northeast
bound trains from there. This is the first time we are seeing such
a big surge in ticket sale for these trains on a single day,"
The overcrowding of platforms late Wednesday and frantic calls by
railway officials for deployment of Railway Protection Force (RPF)
personnel and police forced Ashoka to rush to the city station and
plead with the frenzied students to desist from leaving the city.