No clues yet to cause of hysteria

Exodus unabated: Police still in the dark on SMSes that triggered panic

The authorities continue to be in the dark about the cause for the mass hysteria that seems to have gripped members of the North-Eastern community in the City forcing their reverse migration to the states of their origin.

 A young woman comforts her relative at the Bangalore Railway Station on Thursday, as they wait for a train that will take them to Guwahati. DH Photo / Govindraj Javali

The police and the government remained clueless about the origin of the rumoured threats and physical attacks that have driven the North-Easterners to such panic. 

The government and the law enforcing authorities tried in vain to assure the communities that there was no threat to them.   The police have gone to great lengths to quell rumours of impending violence. Sources in police intelligence maintained that they were trying to trace a phone call made to a few people in Goripalya in J J Nagar, threatening that they would be killed if they did not leave immediately.

The City police on Thursday received two complaints wherein individuals of North-Eastern origin being victimised. Both complaints were registered in Ashok Nagar police station limits.

Chokcham Bikash from Manipur registered a complaint saying he was stopped and threatened at Anepalya on August 15. Chokcham in his complaint said two men riding a two-wheeler asked him to leave the city before month of Ramzan got over, or face “severe consequences”.

Mairilung Bou, a Manipur man also from Anepalya,  received a similar-sounding threat from three bike-borne men on August 13.Police have booked cases under IPC section 341.

MMS from Pune

According to sources in central intelligence agencies, one person was picked up at Pune, where a purported MMS that is alleged to be circulating, is supposed to have originated from. But most people fleeing the City cited some instance of a threat and refused to heed assurances on safety.

Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, who also holds the Home portfolio, said the police have been studying text messages doing the rounds about an impending attack. A particular SMS — which says four people (two from Manipur and two from Nepal) have been killed in Bangalore — and which is being widely forwarded, did the main panic job, a senior police official said.

The City police have launched a probe to ascertain the origin of these messages and nab the “rumour mongers.”  Another text message being studied by the police states that people from the North-East will be attacked after Ramzan (August 20).

A Manipuri call centre employee said a group of her friends, living close to Johnson Market, were woken up by five youths in the middle of the night and warned to leave the City before August 20. None of them registered a police complaint. Instead, they spread the word around that it was better to leave the City and return when the situation normalised. 

“What is the assurance that the police will reach every house and protect us? If there is an intention to harm us, can they protect each of us?” the Manipuri girl questioned.

Bobo Khurajam, a filmmaker from Imphal, said he had convinced his niece who is studying in a nursing college, to come back home. The principal assured the girl that she would be protected and that there was no threat. “But, we don’t want to take a chance,” he said.Regardless of the State’s confidence-building measures, the community has shown little faith in the leadership of the Director General and Inspector General (DG&IG) Lalrokhuma Pachuau, who hails from Mizoram.  “Today, the DG&IG is from our part of the country. What is the guarantee that he will still be the DG&IG tomorrow?” questioned a Manipuri student. In fact, there are murmurs among students that Pachuau hasn’t done much in terms of building faith in the “system”.

Requesting people of his stateliving  in Bangalore to ignore rumours, Assam Society of Bangalore General Secretary, Pranjal Medhi said: “So far, I have not come across any Assamese who has told me or the society that he/she has been attacked or threatened by any community. After the Pune violence on Tuesday, where students of NE states came under attack, a sort of fear has crept into the minds of people  residing in Bangalore.

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