BANGALORE: Five people have been today arrested and four others identified for spreading rumours that people from the northeastern part of the country would be attacked to avenge the ethnic violence in Assam.
Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar warned of more arrests and reached out to people for northeast saying that the government is with them.
In an effort to quell such rumours, the Home Ministry has also asked IB, state police to monitor websites, social media closely, CNN IBN reported.
Earlier today, the government levied a ban on sending bulk SMSes and MMSes for 15 days.
Talk of Muslim revenge attacks has swirled all week, with threats of brutal attacks being carried on social media and mobile phone text messages.
Earlier in the day, three people were arrested for allegedly assaulting three workers from the northeast at a shopping mall in the city centre, a senior police official said.
"The three accused - Abrar Ahmed, Salman and Vinay - aged around 22-24, were arrested under section 153 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for assaulting three people from Manipur," Bangalore Deputy Commissioner of Police (central) Ravikante Gowda told IANS.
Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured people from the northeast that they were safe, about 25,000 people have already fled the city in the past three days Bangalore Divisional Manager Anil Kumar Agarwal told PTI.
MPs cutting across party lines Friday spoke as one in support of people from the northeast with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declaring in both houses of parliament that everybody would together ensure that those from the region were safe in all parts of the country.
With thousands of students, professionals and others fleeing places like Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad after rumours that they would be attacked, members in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha discussed the issue at length.
Addressing the Lok Sabha, the prime minister said: "It is our obligation to protect the people of northeast. The government will discharge its duty to the best of its ability so that the feeling of insecurity among people of northeast is brought under control."
"What is at stake is the unity of our country. What is at stake is communal harmony," Singh told parliament.
"I assure you ... that we will do our utmost to ensure that our friends and our children and our citizens from the northeast feel secure in any and every part of our country."
"It is the obligation of all of us, regardless of the party, that we work together to create an atmosphere where this rumour-mongering will come to an end," Singh said.
Muslims across India have been alarmed by clashes in recent weeks between indigenous people in Assam and Muslim settlers from neighbouring Bangladesh. At least 75 people have been killed and more than 400,000 displaced there.
About 240,000 people from the northeast region live in Bangalore and another 100,000 in other cities across Karnataka. (Agencies)
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