Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday voiced concern over reports of attacks on Keralites in Tamil Nadu over the Mullaperiyar dam row and requested his counterpart Jayalalithaa "to take firm action to contain the situation."
In a letter to the Tamil Nadu chief minister, he also expressed willingness to issue a joint statement with her to urge for peace, restraint and for ensuring protection to all.
"This is a situation where we have to urgently provide a sense of protection and confidence to our people. I request you to take immediate action to control the situation, ensure safety of our people and take stringent action against those elements who are involved in such illegal acts," he said.
Chandy said it was unfortunate that the Mullaperiyar issue should spill over into events affecting peace and harmony among people of both states.
He said Kerala government has taken all possible steps to ensure no one from Tamil Nadu is attacked and added that police presence along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu borders, especially Kumily and other sensitive areas has been strengthened.
"However, there is widespread misinformation campaign which needs to be addressed immediately," he said, adding that a report on Tamil workers fleeing Kerala and a camp being opened for them in Theni was one such case.
He pointed out that there are a large number of Tamil labourers in Kerala, particularly in the plantation sector and their contribution to Kerala's economy was valuable.
Chandy rejected reports of women labourers from Tamil Nadu being molested in Kerala, saying such false misinformation was meant to inflame passions among people of Tamil Nadu.
"Labourers and women from Tamil Nadu are safe in Kerala and we shall ensure their protection", he added.
Chandy also said there have been no untoward instances of attacks on pilgrims from Tamil Nadu visiting Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala. "On the other hand, they are happy about the conduct of Keralites and police who have been extending all help."
Chandy said families of those employed in Tamil Nadu are in a state of anxiety in Kerala.
"There are a large number of students from Kerala studying in various institutions in Tamil Nadu. Lakhs of people are employed in the organized and unorganized sector. Their families in Kerala are in a state of anxiety," he said.
Chandy also requested Jayalalithaa to urge the public not to indulge in violence and vandalism at their Kerala brethren.
He alleged that certain sections of the media in Tamil Nadu were whipping up passions by repeatedly projecting "totally irrelevant and misleading images".
The chief minister said Kerala has always valued the "excellent cooperation and goodwill" between the two states.
"The Government of Kerala has already taken all possible steps to ensure Tamil residents in Kerala and visitors from the state are safe in Kerala. All political parties have appealed for restraint," he said.