Fearing Attacks, Thousands Continue to Flee Bangalore

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Anupam Nath / AP

Migrants from the northeastern Indian states disembark from a train departing from the southern Indian city of Bangalore after arriving in Guwahati, in Assam state, on Aug. 18, 2012

Tens of thousands of people from Assam and other northeastern states have fled Bangalore since Thursday despite authorities’ attempts to stamp out rumors of pending attacks on their communities. On Friday afternoon, some 1,500 workers and students were camped out in the city’s railway station, waiting for specially scheduled trains that have been arranged to ferry people back to their homes in India’s northeast. Railway authorities told the Hindustan Times that at least eight trains carrying as many as 30,000 people had left for that part of the country in the past three days.

In the past week, rumors have been circulating via SMS of an attack on people from northeastern India on Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated this weekend, allegedly in retaliation for riots that broke out in the state of Assam last month. More than 70 people were killed and some 400,000 displaced in clashes between the ethnic Bodo group and Muslim settlers in a conflict alternately cast as a battle over illegal immigration, religion and the struggle for limited resources in a poor and remote part of the country.

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Although reverberations of the Assam riots have also been felt in clashes in Pune and Mumbai, the fear in Bangalore reached a unique crescendo. Though the police said no reports of violence have been reported as of Friday, rumors of thuggery and threats were circulated by the dark text messages. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who represents Assam in the Parliament’s upper house, condemned those spreading rumors on Friday, saying they “should be brought to book as at stake is not the just unity and integrity of the country, but also communal harmony.” The government has now enforced a ban on mass text messaging that it says will stay in place for the next two weeks, and on Saturday several individuals had reportedly been detained in connection with the messages, according to the Press Trust of India.

Roughly 100,000 students and workers from northeast India have been living in Bangalore for years, seeking opportunities that they could not find back home where unemployment runs high. “These people have been living in Bangalore for the past 15 years,” Bangalore’s deputy police commissioner V.S. D’Souza said in a phone interview on Friday. “There has never been a problem. This is totally new.”

(MORE: India Continues to Grapple with Fallout from Assam Violence)

D’Souza said that by Friday afternoon his office had received 4,000 calls in 48 hours from frightened citizens and their relatives trying to figure out whether the threat was real. “This happened. That happened. Nobody knows what happened actually,” D’Souza said. “Parents and relatives have been asking people from Bangalore to come back to their hometowns.” Armed forces have been deployed on the streets, and authorities have held several meetings with community members around the city to try to calm the panic and assure them that they will be protected.

Though northeasterners, many of whom have East Asian features that set them physically apart from other Indians, have reported being the target of racial slurs and discrimination in many parts of the country for years, the problem has never been pronounced in Bangalore. Observers say the week’s events are more a repercussion of the heated anti-immigrant and communal rhetoric used to talk about the Assam riots than the venting of deep-seated religious tensions. “They have to stop describing this as an immigrant issue, and it has to stop being projected as an attack on Islam,” says Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of Human Rights Watch. “While there are many attacks against Islam, this is not one of them.”

Ganguly says the onus is on political and religious leaders to start a more responsible conversation about the violence in the northeast and to work toward a resolution. “It will fester unless something is done,” she says. India’s Central Bureau of Investigation announced a cash reward on Saturday for anyone who has information about perpetrators of the violence in Assam.

MORE: Why Anna Hazare, Scourge of India’s Politicians, May Join Their Ranks

41 comments
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Sukumar D
Sukumar D

Ignorance of relying on technology and  ignoring the truth and reality.

Benson Stein
Benson Stein

So much for Gandhi's teachings...    Quite sad that a country with such a historical background in wisdom, spirituality, and philosophy, engages in this most savage behavior and often resorts to violence, hatred, and brutality. 

TimeMagaz
TimeMagaz

See islam always attacks the other religions so now all religions will attack muslim as their enemy. Like a prophet jails bad spirits the islam will be Shut for 1000 years as the punishment for arrogant violent muslims to explain them who are the ruler above islam.

sawthelight
sawthelight

Neither religious nor political leaders say responsible things. They lie.

Holly Kick
Holly Kick

Bangalore sucks .. it is a crap now .. it used to be great .. now it is overpriced homes and rich people living .. clearly a bad place to live. 

Maaq
Maaq

Bangalore is Hi tech,  Hello-----I am John !!!!!! sorry sorry I am Judy---- you waant some hlep?. 

Oilwars
Oilwars

The sorrowful islam is a Shame for Human Beings.

Assemble again:

We are Jew jointed to kill islam.

We are Christian jointed to bombard islam.

We are Hindus jointed to eliminate islam.

We are Buddhist jointed to defeat islam.

We are Antiislam jointed to attack islam.

All Human Beings will Punish muslim for the Sins of islam amp; its violence.

By the Anger of Nature The Real Creators will Destroy the noisy islamic mosques that disturb the Nature Peace

FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

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FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

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FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

my roomate's sister-in-law makes $81/hour on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 10 months but last month her payment was $19665 just working ­ C­ashLazy.­com

FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

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FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

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FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

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FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

my best friend's mother-in-law makes $72 hourly on the laptop. She has been fired from work for 7 months but last month her income was $20762 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Here's the site to read more CashLazy.*com(remove the *)

FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site CashLazy.*com(remove the *) 

FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

my best friend's step-aunt makes $70/hr on the internet. She has been laid off for seven months but last month her payment was $12673 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site CashLazy.*com(remove the *)

FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

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FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

my friend's step-aunt makes $62 hourly on the computer. She has been fired for seven months

FrostTimothy
FrostTimothy

my neighbor's mother makes $68/hr on the laptop. She has been out of work for

Irfan Khawaja
Irfan Khawaja

Script from CIA, Raw and Mossad strategic partnership deed against Muslims. 

 Shame on you, moron.... You are a vulgar idiot

Deadislams
Deadislams

The Hindus Legions can use the headset helmet to protect ears from the evil islamic voices. The Krishna Archers  can add the fireballs to burn muslims by their sorrow islamic fashions. After shouting their evil islamic spells the muslims will be tired and sleepy. That is the time to attack muslim by armies after bombarding their head group of clerics holding their evil drum to be destroyed first.

Deadislams
Deadislams

The Hindus Legions can use the headset helmet to protect ears from the evil islamic voices. The Krishna Archers  can add the fireballs to burn muslims by their sorrow islamic fashions. After shouting their evil islamic spells the muslims will be tired and sleepy. That is the time to attack muslim by armies after bombarding their head group of clerics holding their evil drum to be destroyed first.

Henry ThePants
Henry ThePants

False claims on Hindu attacks on Muslims.

Oilwars
Oilwars

The Hindus Balinese are Gladly to Kick Out the violent muslims to go home at their hell arabian deserts.

Henry ThePants
Henry ThePants

I thought Obama was winning the War on Terror.  Once we started negotiations with Islam they became the religion of Peace.  Where is the Peace?

Oilwars
Oilwars

The egoistic muslims still do their sorrowful prayer by their noisy mosques to force their evil islamic spells only bring Chaos amp; disturb their own peaceful nature. So why do Human respect to them and their own sorrow made by their own islamic primitive cultures? It is islam the trouble maker the negative characters the enemy to be destroyed for Human Peace.

ChristVictory
ChristVictory

See they shout their evil islamic voices to be destroyed by The Sun Lights. After their arrogant stupid muslim feel sleepy amp; tired because human weakness after shouting the evil islamic voices for 6 hours then it is the time for All Human Beings to destroy muslims. When muslims regroup that is the good events for bombarding them with lesser nukes.

Maaq
Maaq

Hindu dream of turning India in to Bharat  (Ram Raj) is turned sour as Muslims are gaining majority in some areas. To solve this problem Hindus have started ethnic cleansing / genocide.

Oilwars
Oilwars

The sorrowful islam is a Shame for Human Beings.

Assemble again:

We are Jew jointed to kill islam.

We are Christian jointed to bombard islam.

We are Hindus jointed to eliminate islam.

We are Buddhist jointed to defeat islam.

We are Antiislam jointed to attack islam.

All Human Beings will Punish muslim for the Sins of islam amp; its violence.

By the Anger of Nature The Real Creators will Destroy the noisy islamic mosques that disturb the Nature Peace

Kushan joshi
Kushan joshi

What you said , really made me think that no religion is left which has not been terrorized . Why is this  religion causing so much of trouble in our contemporary world ?

manofsan
manofsan

I am an atheist, but I too am unhappy at Islamist chauvinism

Islam is also trying to terrorize children suffering from mental retardation too:

http://www.google.com/hostedne...

Great job, Islam - keep it up and you'll have no friends at all.

Deadislams
Deadislams

The Hindus Legions can use the headset helmet to protect ears from the evil islamic voices. The Krishna Archers  can add the fireballs to burn muslims by their sorrow islamic fashions. After shouting their evil islamic spells the muslims will be tired and sleepy. That is the time to attack muslim by armies after bombarding their head group of clerics holding their evil drum to be destroyed first.

ChristVictory
ChristVictory

See they shout their evil islamic voices to be destroyed by The Sun Lights. After their arrogant muslim feel sleepy amp; tired because human weakness after shouting the evil islamic voices for 6 hours then it is the time for All Human Beings to destroy muslims. When muslims regroup that is the good events for bombarding them with lesser nukes.

manofsan
manofsan

Apparently, a lot of SMS messages have been traced back to Pakistan as their origin point:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl...

http://www.rediff.com/news/rep...

http://economictimes.indiatime...

If true, then that's quite noteworthy.

Gee, I wonder why Pakistanis would do something like that?

Maaq
Maaq

You can not change ground realities by just saying SMS from Pakistan. 

At least 14 passengers of a Guwahati-bound train carrying northeast Indians leaving Bangalore were killed and 10 others injured on Sunday after they were beaten up and pushed out of train by unidentified persons, police said.

manofsan
manofsan

Yes, it's not just Islam nextdoor that's causing problems, but Islam in India itself. Communal Muslims pushing people out of trains won't intimidate the rest of the population. Also, their attack on the Amar Jawan War Memorial was absolutely despicable:

http://www.ndtv.com/article/ci...

citizenofworld
citizenofworld

Friend, Just out of curiosity, why is there is so much hatred in your heart?

Do you have any first hand knowledge about Islam or Muslims apart from rumours?

Adnan7631
Adnan7631

Eid is the first day AFTER Ramadan. Lack of knowledge...