N-E people continue to flee Chennai, Pune

Fear factor: Unable to get trains in Bangalore, people throng Chennai

N-E people continue to flee Chennai, Pune
There was no let up for the third consecutive day on Saturday in the numbers of people from the North-East fleeing Chennai and Pune.

In Chennai, more people from the North-East continued to leave for their homes from different parts of Tamil Nadu even as the administration maintained there is “no mass departure or exodus as seen in the first two days”.

Police and official sources told Deccan Herald on Saturday evening that the number of people from the North-East, mainly Assamese, seeking to leave the state had come down to “a few hundreds”. However, many others from Bangalore, unable to get into direct trains from there, are coming to Chennai to catch trains to Howrah and Guwahati, the sources said.

Acting swiftly on Chief Minister J Jayalalitha’s directive, state Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi and other top police and Home Department officials reviewed the situation on Saturday. They decided on further steps to infuse confidence in the North-East population staying in the state in a bid to persuade them not to leave as the situation in the city was peaceful and secure.

“Only small groups of people from Assam, mostly migrant labour working in small factories or spinning units from some pockets of Tamil Nadu where they feel their numbers are too small to feel secure are leaving today,” said S Saikia, president of the Assam Association in Chennai. This included two groups, one from Kanniyakumari and another from Tirunelveli.

The Association volunteers have been meeting the returnees in Central and Egmore railway stations to explain that “everything is peaceful here and there is nothing to panic,” in a bid to dissuade them from leaving, Saikia told Deccan Herald. There are about 10,000 people in all from the North-Eastern states in Greater Chennai alone, which includes a large number of students, besides members from families working here in different organisations, Saikia said, adding, “the bulk of them continue to be in the city.”

The Association office-bearers had a meeting with the Chennai police commissioner on Friday evening who assured them that the state administration was fully with all the North-East people, Saikia said, adding, he also assured all possible help to ease the situation. 
 
In Pune, the railway station witnessed fear-stricken residents crowding the ticket counters in large numbers, desperate to head to their home states.

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