Gripped by rumour fuelled fears of impending attacks on them, people from northeast continued to flee the city for the third consecutive day on Saturday with hundreds thronging the railway station and heading back home.
The Central Railway station in Chennai has been seeing a flow of anxious north-easterners desperate to get tickets for their onward journey in spite of assurances of safety and no untoward incident targetting them being reported.
Police said though Tamil Nadu has never seen incidents of violence against people from the northeast, reports of incidents and rumours in other states seem to be disturbing their parents back home, who want them to come back.
Chennai city police has set up a round-the-clock control room and helplines exclusively for north-easterners.
However, not many students are leaving the city. "The city's colleges have many students from the northeast on the rolls, most of whom are living in the hostels or in groups. So not many of them feel the need to leave," a student from the northeast who did not wish to be named, said.
In a bid to reach out to the fleeing north-easterners, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa has assured them that the state was peaceful and that her government would take steps to ensure their safety.