Ashoka's pleas fail to stem exodus

The City railway station on Wednesday night was witness to unprecedented rush as hordes of people of North Eastern origin boarded trains to Guwahati, in a panic-ridden state.

Futile bid: Hordes of people from the north eastern states throng the City railway station on Wednesday to catch a train. DH Photos

The Bangalore division of railways had to organise two special trains in addition to the regular train to Guwahati.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed as people struggled to board the trains between 11 pm and 12 am, when all the three trains were scheduled to depart.

Home Minister R Ashoka rushed to the station and tried to assure people that there was no threat and it was all rumours.

“Bangalore never has had any communal problems. We had inputs that people from the North East, especially students, would be targeted and we have taken measures to see that areas where students are greater in number are being patrolled.”

This assurance did not, however, satisfy the emotional crowd as they resorted to sloganeering and shouting.

Railways police and additional police were present in huge numbers at the station. Each of the coaches are being provided with two policemen till the Andhra Pradesh border.

DCP (West), S N Siddaramappa, told Deccan Herald: “I visited the City railway station where about 4,000 people have gathered to leave for Guwahati by a special train.

I addressed the people through the public address system and requested them to come forward with any specific complaints and co-operate.

However, none turned up. Many said that they are leaving to visit their relatives back home who are injured and victimised in the recent communal flare up. But there is a fear psychosis which I observed. But it is unfounded.”

Most of the people the Deccan Herald spoke to refused to be identified, but said they had been told to leave within ten days. A resident of Koramangala said that some people had visited their house and issued the threats.

“We cannot ignore these threats. Now my parents are insisting that I go back,” he said.
Even Nepalis are a part of the crowd which is exiting the State by the minute. Pradhan, a Nepali said he was sick of the harassment faced in the last 4-5 days.

“I have been so miserable. Some people came to my door and told me to leave,” he said.
Rohim from Assam who is travelling back home with two of his friends had a different story to tell.

“Everybody here is telling me that they are fleeing expecting violence, but I am going back with my friends, because my people want me to come back to help them after the violence with Muslims,” he said.

A student from Sikkim claimed that an autorickshaw driver “kind of threatened me” when he was travelling to college on Tuesday. 

During the journey, the driver asked him whether he knew anything about the violence in Assam. “Aap logon ke jaane ka waqt aagaya. Ramzan ke baad chale jaana,” (It’s time for you people to leave the City; you should go after Ramzan) the student, who preferred anonymity, quoted the driver as saying.

He says the driver did not shout at him but his tone sounded “kind of a threat”.

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