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Parliament stands united, rallies behind people from northeast

The unity and integrity of India is being threatened by "some elements", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today while stressing that the government will do its best to protect people of the region. PM praises parties for unanimous supportvideo-icon

delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2012 20:03 IST
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With exodus of Northeast origin people from Bangalore continuing, the Centre on Friday vowed to take strong action against those responsible for spreading rumours leading to the situation.

The unity and integrity of India is being threatened by "some elements", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday while stressing that the government will do its best to protect people of the region.

Addressing the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said: "It is our obligation to protect the people of northeast. The government will discharge its duty to the best of its ability so that a feeling of insecurity among people of northeast is brought under control."

"Such acts are most reprehensible. The unity and integrity of India is being threatened by some elements," the prime minister said as members discussed the issue of thousands of people from the northeast fleeing places like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune after rumours that they would be attacked.

Speaking on the same issue in the Rajya Sabha, the Prime Minister said all parties would together ensure that citizens from the northeast were safe in all parts of the country.

The Lok Sabha on Friday rose as one to apply balm to people from North East who are fleeing parts of the country driven by rumours of impending attacks on them and demanded strong action against those creating fear psychosis.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj stressed on the need to rise above party lines and send a clear message that people from the North East have the freedom to live, work and study wherever they wish in the country.

She said the government should create helplines to address grievances of the people from the northeast and step up patrolling across cities, particularly in areas and hostels where they reside in large numbers.

Ninong Ering (Cong) said reports of attacks on people from North East send a wrong signal and action must be taken against those spreading rumours.

"We are sad. We think ourselves as Indians .... but after incidents in a small area of Kokrajhar in Assam .... people of Mongoloid features are attacked .... It sends a wrong signal," Ering said.

He appealed to the home minister to treat this matter very seriously and take strict action against those spreading these

"Strict action must be taken against those involved in spreading rumours as they are trying to create instability... China, Pakistan, Myanmar whosoever is trying to drive a wedge in the country should be dealt with firmly," he said.

Ering, who represents Arunachal Pradesh in the Lok Sabha, said Parliamentarians must take a personal interest in removing the fear psychosis among the people of North East.

Reoti Raman Singh (SP) said the creation of fear psychosis among the people from North East was a pre-planned conspiracy against the nation.

He said those spreading rumours should be arrested under the National Security Act.

"Government must act immediately to create an atmosphere where no one believes in rumours," Singh said.

Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) Parliament has stood as one whenever it was faced with sensitive issues. "Today also we should speak as one and set an example while dealing with this sensitive issue," he said.

Chauhan said the Constitutional rights of the people of northeast were being violated by denying them freedom of access to other parts of the country.

"The kind of rumours that are being spread is part of a conspiracy. There is a need to expose those spreading these
rumours," he said.

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said there was a need to identify the rumour mongers and strict action should be taken against them.

Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC) suggested that the Speaker can "if necessary" form a Parliamentary delegation which can visit the "panic-stricken" people of Assam.

He warned that if appropriate action is not taken on time then the "agent provocateurs" may again provoke the people.

TKS Elangovan (DMK) said the people from south India were shamed due to these incidents of violence in Bangalore and other parts of the country.

"I am sorry and all political leaders of the South should take this as a shame. We should host the people from the North East properly," he said.

Basudeb Acharia (CPM) said it is a matter of great concern that people from the North East region are feeling insecure.

"It is a fundamental right of residents of the country to live anywhere in the country. What is happening is against the
Constitutional right of the people," he said.

He pointed out that people from one state are being attacked in other states. He demanded that the situation should not be communalised and said the reasons behind these incidents is local. "It is the handiwork of a militant section of Bodo as well as minority," he said.

Acharia said doubts and fear in the minds of the people from the North East should be removed.

Baijyayant Panda (BJD) said this was not an occasion for finger-pointing at the Centre or the states and said his state Odisha has faced similar problems in the past.

Panda suggested that the provocation being done through the internet should be stopped immediately.

Sanjiv Naik (NCP) said "wrong information" is being spread that a large number of people from the North East are moving out from Mumbai and this should be stopped.

He demanded removal of a film clip being shown on You Tube about violence by the North East people. Similarly, on social media site Facebook a lot of wrong information is being spread, he said. "90 per cent of such messages are wrong," he added.

The Lok Sabha witnessed some noisy scenes when Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) referred to the point raised by Congress member Ninong Ering earlier that outside elements could also be involved in the violence in Assam.

"The Arunachal Pradesh MP had said there could be a conspiracy behind the violence in Kokrajhar. I want to reiterate this that China, Bangladesh or Mynamar could be involved. Perhaps it could be their conspiracy," Geete said.

He maintained that the violence in Mumbai could also be the work of outside forces. "If we act keeping this reality in mind only then will we succeed," he said.

Geete said tribals from the North East fear that they will be removed from their land and will become refugees.

He showed a newspaper photo which showed a man vandalising the Amar Jawan Jyoti in Mumbai and demanded that the "traitor" be punished.

The Shiv Sena leader said this was a conspiracy to break away North East from the rest of the country.

First Published: Aug 17, 2012 11:39 IST