BANGALORE: Even as over 5,000 people, many of them students, fled from Bangalore to Assam in special trains, the Karnataka police on Thursday sought to scotch rumours that people from the North-East would be attacked following the ethnic violence that has rocked Assam in the past few days.
The Karnataka and the central governments too emphasised that people from the northeastern region are safe in Bangalore and that there was no threat to them 'anywhere in India'.
So why are people fleeing Bangalore? Karnataka Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar also assured the northeast students that they were safe in the state.
While assurances kept flying thick and fast, the BJP blamed illegal migrants living in the country for the attacks on people from the North East.
People from various communities, especially the Muslim community, also appealed to people not to leave Bangalore in fear and held up placards at the Bangalore railway station asking 'Assamese friends' to stay back. But the exodus continues, leading to a few questions that citizens are seeking an answer to:
The state DGP Lalrokhuma Pachuau, himself hailing from Manipur, at a press conference too assured the people from the North Eastern states that they are safe. But his assurances have failed to impress many.
This raises many questions on the effectiveness - or the lack of it - of law and order machinery in Bangalore and the efficacy of the ruling BJP government in Karnataka. Here are some of them:
Close on the heels of the attacks on some students from the northeastern region in Pune, Mysore and some other parts of the nation came a Central government advisory asking all state governments to stay on high alert. And despite the fact that the Karnataka government too was on high alert, thousands of people have headed out of Bangalore. Why?
Just why was the State government caught unawares even on Independence Day when security is at its highest, in any case?
The Railways, in no time, arranged specials when usually there is some advance notice required for extra trains to be pressed into service. So if the administration wasn't aware of the situation getting out of hand, how could it arrange for extra trains so quickly? Or did the authorities decide to allow the exodus and thus give into the wishes of the miscreants?
Northeastern students, who have stayed back, are now confused by their college authorities' double-speak. When contacted by students, one college actually said, "We can't assure your safety." "Go home until Eid," said another.
In yet another educational institution in Anand Nagar, Bangalore, police picked up students from the Northeast for 'protection'. "What's with the North-Eastern problem in Bangalore? Some cops just came to my college and took NE students for protection," said a student. So what exactly was happening?
A student hides in a hotel room because his landlord fears for his own life and asks him to leave. When some others go to the police in the Shanthi Nagar area, they are told 'better go home'. And with more such news filtering in, the police are still wondering why no complaints have been registered at the police station!
RSS volunteers flock the railway station, by way of assurance, but not the security apparatus of the city. What is the reason behind that?
What exactly happened over the last week to cause this exit? Whether the inflammatory posters in the Shivaji Nagar area are a reality or not should have been double checked and steps taken. But was anything done?
News based on tweets and SMSes should have been taken with a pinch of salt. And what about veiled threats of action against North-Eastern people in the coming days? Are these mere rumours? Have any of the rumor-mongers been located?
So have people from the North-East in Bangalore been attacked? The police say no. People in hiding say yes. So who is telling the truth?
What if such threats had been issued against the mighty IT industry in Bangalore? Would the high alert have been as low as it is now?
Newspaper reports state that more than 1,000 persons from Assam, consisting mainly of Bodo tribals who were working as security guards in the city, left Bangalore in a hurry fearing that they would be assaulted.
While political parties blame each other for the exodus, the violence and the collapse of faith in the law and order machinery, the common man suffers, fearing for his life, cowering in hideouts or fleeing from the city. And answers to these questions continue to remain unanswered.
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