Exodus of North Easterners from B'lore, Chennai abates

The exodus of fear-stricken North Easterners in the wake of rumours of retaliatory attacks on them after the Assam violence abated today in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

In Bangalore, police beefed up security, deploying 17,000 personnel as government put its security machinery in top gear to instill a sense of confidence among North Easterners.

Three companies each of CRPF and RAF, 25 KSRP (Karnataka State Reserve Police) platoons and 35 City Armed Reserve platoons, 1,500 trainee policemen and 500 Home Guards are also being deployed here, Police Commissioner Jyothi Prakash Mirji told reporters.

Pickets would be posted and round the clock patrolling done to maintain law and order, he said, adding peace committee meetings have been held with various communities, with security measures being taken in view of Eid also.

Home Minister R Asoka who a met a three-member Nagaland delegation, comprising two ministers and its IGP, told them the exodus had stopped after government assured them safety.

"Everything is calm. There is no need to panic. I have told Police Commissioner to work 24 hours on Aug 20. I myself will work 24 hours and patrol in the night to build confidence among all communities that Bangalore is safe," he told reporters after meeting the delegation.

"We have arrested 16 persons in the city during the last three days for intimidating or sending disturbing SMSs to the North East population. The situation is under control," he said.

In Chennai, the exit of North Easterners from the city dwindled today with only a few hundred seen in the central railway station. Railway sources said three compartments were added to a train to the North East this morning to accommodate those who arrived from Bangalore.

Police said the number of those leaving, which was around 2000 every day, had dropped to less than 1,000 today.

North Eastern people, who left Chennai for their home towns, are mostly from Tiruppur and Namakkal in Tamil Nadu.

Mirji said Asoka has held meetings with businessmen, hoteliers, shopkeepers and public who have assured food, shelter and security to people from the North East.

Besides police vehicles, private vehicles have been hired for patrolling and plainclothes police with cameras would do the rounds in all areas "to send a warning to mischief mongers that they would be caught on camera and apprehended if they tried to create trouble," he said.

Nagaland Social Welfare Minister Jotiso Sato and Energy Minister Doshia Y Sema, accompanied by state DGP R P Kaikon, arrived in the city today to study the situation and met people from their state after meeting Ashoka.

The Nagaland Ministers said they are satisfied with the steps taken by the state government to safeguard the interests of people from the North East.

"Our students are safe here and they don't need to leave Banglore. Home Minister has said he himself will come to Nagaland, meet people there and tell them to come back to Bangalore," they said.

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