Bangalore/New Delhi: With the mass exodus of panic-stricken people, including students, of North- Eastern states fleeing Bangalore after reports of attacks on some of them trickled in, the Union Home Minister on Thursday said there was no threat to anyone from the region living anywhere in the country and warned of strict action against rumour mongers.

Home Minister reacts

"If rumours are spread, strict action will be taken against those who indulge in such activities," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters outside the Parliament House.

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and he had spoken to Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, requesting him to ask the people to share information on rumour mongers.

Extra trains have been pressed into service for Assam to help people who wanted to leave Karnataka, Shinde said, asserting that the situation in the state was peaceful.

‘No threat to north-east people’

Reacting to reports that people from the north east were attacked in other parts of the country, Home Secretary R K Singh said in Delhi, "There is no threat to the people of the north east in any part of the country."

On reports of mass exodus of people from the north east living in Bangalore, Singh said he had spoken to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Karnataka Police and they had informed him that there was no incident of attack on anyone from the region anywhere in the state.

K’taka CM holds high-level meet  

Shettar holds high-level meet

In Bangalore, the Chief Minister held a high-level meeting today to review steps to tackle the situation.

Extra trains pressed into service

Two Assam-bound special trains were operated late on Wednesday night in addition to the regular service to clear the sudden rush of passengers triggered by the rumours in the wake of one incident of attack on people from the north east in Pune in the wake violence in Assam.

Railway officials had said in Bangalore on Wednesday that they had sold over 5,000 tickets for north eastern destinations.

Shinde said 300 people left on Wednesday night and two extra trains have been pressed into service on Thursday for Assam.

The stabbing of a Tibetan student by two motorcycle-borne men in Mysore on August 14 added to the fears of the north eastern people whom the government and police are trying to convince that they are safe in the state.

No exact figures of people who fled Bangalore

State DGP Lalrokhuma Pachuau, who himself is from the north eastern state of Manipur, said that the exact number of people who fled the city was not known as many bound for Guwahati were regular passengers, and not those leaving following the rumours.

Concerned over the development, the Prime Minister spoke last night to Shettar who assured him that steps were being taken to give protection to the people from the north east.

Besides the Prime Minister, Shinde and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also spoke to Shettar on the issue.

The Union Home Secretary said, "Last night when I got an information that some people from Assam were under threat in Karnataka, I rang up the DGP and checked up with him... There is nothing.

"When people thronged the (Bangalore) railway station to go to the north east, the Home Minister of Karnataka himself went there and told them that there is nothing. So the rumour mongering has to be stopped. Some people are spreading rumours," he said.

A small group of people at the Bangalore railway station said, "We are expecting the railway authorities to make an announcement of arranging special trains to Guwahati. We want to be with our families in Assam. We have been informed that some people are planning to attack us....

"We do not want to take any risk as nobody comes to our rescue when we are attacked," Monica and others from the north eastern region said as they waited at the railway station this morning.

(Agencies)

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