Edited by Surabhi Malik | Updated: August 17, 2012 13:57 IST
The BJP's Sushma Swaraj initiated the discussion in the Lok Sabha by asking the House send out a message of solidarity. The PM said, "We want to send out a message to all those who want to jeopardise our unity that this House stands united and we will work together to control the elements who want to create trouble." (North-East debate in Parliament: Who said what)
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who heads the BJP government in Karnataka, has ordered an enquiry to find out who is spreading rumours that have students and others in a state of panic in Bangalore. Mr Shettar met students from the North-East and has said, "The whole Karnataka government is with you...there is nothing to worry (about)." The Chief Minister has underscored that there has been no incident of violence in his state.
Mr Shettar says a nodal officer has been appointed, helpline numbers set up and patrolling had begun in areas where people from the North-East reside.
In Delhi, Home Secretary RK Singh said this morning that the situation in Bangalore is under control, that the North Eastern community is safe and he has promised that the Centre will find out who spread the rumours that sparked panic. He described incidents of violence reported in Assam yesterday as "isolated" and said the situation in that state was "fully under control."
Despite all assurances, many people from the North-East are headed home. In Bangalore, for the second night in a row, two special trains departed for Guwahati yesterday, in addition to the regular train that runs every evening. Sources say another special train might be arranged at 2 pm today due to a huge demand for tickets. About 7000 people left Bangalore for the North East on Wednesday and about 10,000 people on Thursday. However, not all those boarding trains say fear is driving them out. Many say they are headed home because they have a long weekend ahead; some say they feel safe, but their worried parents have summoned them home. Over one lakh people from the North-East live in Bangalore.
Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune are on guard against aftershocks of the ethnic violence that has hit Assam hard in the last one month; nearly 80 people have died. Special trains were also arranged from Pune and Hyderabad - at least 3000 people left Pune aboard the Azad Hind Express yesterday. Railway officials say two extra bogies were added to the train. No such arrangement has been made today. The Pune Police too is meeting various groups from the city to assure them of security.
In Bangalore, top officials are out reassuring people. Karnataka Home Minister R Ashok visited a railway station last night, not his first such visit. His message, "But please do not leave the city. It is yours as much as it is mine." As the man in charge of law and order, he says the panic has been triggered by "99 percent rumours. But we are being very cautious and alert." The minister will meet senior police officers today to take stock of security. Bangalore's Police Commissioner Jyothiprakash Mirji too visited the railway station yesterday and said, "Do not panic or pay heed to rumours."
Assam is getting ready to receive the thousands who have boarded trains to get home. There is curfew in three districts of lower Assam following fresh tension yesterday, but the Centre has said the situation is under control. After reports of new ethnic violence, the state government formally sought the Army's assistance yesterday. Nine columns of the Army (about 600 personnel) will be stationed in Nalbari, an important town in Lower Assam which has been hit by ethnic violence. Nearly 80 people have died in the last month in the ethnic clashes. Till recently, four lakh people were packed into relief camp.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Thursday afternoon that Indians from the North-East, living in cities like Bangalore, should stay where they are. He phoned the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Wednesday and asked that his administration ensure the safety of students and young professionals in Bangalore. Sources say Mr Gogoi has decided to send two ministers each to Bangalore and Hyderabad to interact with government and community leaders there to allay fears. They may also go to Pune, sources added.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered surveillance of websites and social networking sites to identify those who are misreporting facts and circulating messages to instigate violence.
Become friends with your favourite NDTV people and shows. Start now »