Amid the continuing exodus from Bangalore, Pune and other cities, Parliament on Friday assured people from the Northeast of their safety and the government blocked bulk SMSes and MMSes for 15 days to keep rumour-mongers under check.
Both Houses expressed concern over the insecurity in the community following threats of attacks. Rajya Sabha even passed a resolution demanding a probe into how the rumours were spread. “As citizens, they have the right to live in any part of India. Full security should be provided to them,” it said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed for harmony and said: “We will do everything to provide them security. We must curb all elements out to create trouble on this sensitive issue.”
In Bangalore, a man was arrested for assaulting a 22-year-old youth from the Northeast, taking the number of cases registered and arrests made since Thursday to six each.
A railway official said 29,000 people had fled the city in the past three days. Over 5,000 tickets were booked on Friday and two special trains to the Northeast arranged for other than the routine Guwahati-bound train.
Karnataka DG & IGP LR Pachuao and senior officials visited sensitive areas in Bangalore and urged northeastern people not to panic. Bangalore University vice-chancellor N Prabhudev said all colleges had been instructed to ensure the safety of students from the region.
In Assam's Kokrajhar district — the epicentre of the present crisis — violence continued. A leader of the All Bodoland Minority Students Union was shot dead.
The Assam government, meanwhile, was reported to be planning an all-party mission to restore peace. The state also rushed agriculture minister Nilamoni Sen Deka and transport minister Chandan Brahma to Bangalore.
The ministers met representatives of Northeast organisations and held talks with Karnataka deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa, other ministers and senior officials.
The Manipur government decided to send two IPS officers to Bangalore and Pune and two bureaucrats to Guwahati to help Manipuris heading for their hometowns.
A senior union home ministry official said the Intelligence Bureau and police were monitoring websites and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for messages that could incite violence. The ministry's SMS ban would restrict group SMSes to no more than five people at one go and MMSes to under 20kb.