Kathmandu feels ripples of exodus in Bangalore
It's a small world these days. Mobile phones, Internet and social networking sites in the past five years have reduced the communication gap like never before in human history.world Updated: Aug 22, 2012 23:36 IST
It's a small world these days. Mobile phones, Internet and social networking sites in the past five years have reduced the communication gap like never before in human history.
There are positives to it, but negatives as well — like the recent exodus of students and semi-skilled workers from India's northeast, fleeing Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and Hyderbad following circulation of SMSes and updates on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
These rumours allegedly spread from across the western border carried warnings of possible attacks on people from the northeast as revenge for ethnic clashes in Assam.
And since their facial features resemble those from the northeast, Nepalis living in these Indian cities, mostly as semi-skilled workers in the hospitality sector and students, have also been affected.
Though there are no exact details, reports in Nepali newspapers and websites claim hundreds of Nepalis have fled from Bangalore and other cities in south India, fearing attacks.
Since India and Nepal share an open border and there is no restriction on movement of citizens, there is no record of how many Nepalis reside in India. Some estimates put the figure between 5 and 8 million.
And when the rumours spread, they, like those from the northeast, also felt the heat. Leaving a job without knowing if you will get it back or missing class midway through a course is not easy. But it's better than risking your life or limb.
The Indian government has assured Nepal on the security of its citizens and the foreign ministry in Kathmandu has also appealed to Nepalis in India not to panic. But the fear remains.
Posts on Facebook pages like Nepali Students at Bangalore show many have stopped attending classes and are holed up in their hostels or apartments.
With assurances by the Muslim community and local authorities on their safety, many from the northeast and Nepal will return to Bangalore and other cities and pick up their lives.
But the exodus demonstrated how little it takes to shake our sense of security and change lives — sometimes forever.