New Delhi (PTI): Five persons were arrested today on the charge of spreading rumours that triggered the exodus of people hailing from Northeastern states residing in Karnataka, Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar said today.
He said four other persons have been identified and they are going to be arrested soon."Five persons have already been arrested (for spreading rumours). Some four more people are there. Their names have been identified. They (Police) are going to arrest more persons also," Shettar told reporters here.
In an effort to instill confidence among fear-stricken people of the North East residing in the state, the Chief Minister claimed normalcy has returned to the state with no reports about exodus today.
He warned more arrests are likely in connection with the incident and reached out to people from the region that they can be as safe as they were earlier in the southern state.
"We have told the Northeast people that entire government is with them...There is no threat from any community," he said.
"On day one, 5000 to 6000 people have gone back to Assam. Yesterday, 5000 to 6000 people have gone back and today nothing. Normal atmosphere is created. Nothing happened today," Shettar said.
His statement came even as reports said the exodus not only continued but spread from Bangalore to some other parts of the state.
Shettar said today that yesterday he held meeting with top police officers along with Home Minister R Ashok and instructions have been given to law enforcement agency to protect the interest of the people from the Northeast.
Asked whether he sees the hands of any extremist organisations in spreading rumours, he said it will be revealed only after investigation.
"I don't want to say anything because investigation is on. We have to identify people spreading rumours," he said.
Karnataka to probe rumours against northeast people
New Delhi/Bangalore (IANS): Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar Friday ordered an inquiry into the rumour-mongering about alleged security threats, that triggered exodus of people from northeastern states from this tech hub since late Wednesday.
About 240,000 people from the northeast region live in Bangalore and another 100,000 in other cities across Karnataka.
"The chief minister informed members of parliament from the state in New Delhi that he has directed police to investigate the wild rumours against northeast people in Bangalore and alleged threats to their students as a backlash against the ethnic violence in Assam," an official of the Chief Minister's Office told IANS here.
Though no untoward incident occurred since Thursday and no threat complaint was received by police here, security has been beefed up in sensitive areas across the city.
Police have intensified patrolling in localities populated by northeast people, including college-going students, blue-collar and white-collar employees, security guards and women working in beauty salons.
"We are getting calls regularly on the two helpline numbers set up in the city control room. But they are general, to find out how the situation is, if threat calls are being made, and if anyone has been attacked. No specific complaint against anyone so far," Bangalore Deputy Commissioner of Police (intelligence) Vincent S. D'Souza told IANS.
While the state government, right-wing Hindu outfits like Sri Rama Sena and Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS), Muslim organisations and civil society exhorted the northeast people, especially students, not to leave the city or the state, about 4,500 more of them left late Thursday in four special trains bound for Guwahati in Assam.
"As about 4,600 unreserved tickets were sold till late Thursday, we had to arrange at short notice two special trains of 20 coaches each to Guwahati to clear the extra rush of passengers and attach five more coaches to the two daily trains to northeast stations (Guwahati and Howrah) from the city," South-Western Railway (SWR) spokesman Suvankar Biswas told IANS.
As part of the investigation, cyber sleuths attached to the city police crime branch have started cracking at the sensational messages sent through SMS and MMS, e-mails and postings on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that caused panic and fear among the people from the region.
"As most of the messages received on mobiles through SMS or MMS are originating from Assam and other northeastern states, Mumbai and Kolkata in Hindi, Assamese and Bengali without names or place from where they were being sent, we are taking the help of all service providers across the country to identify the culprits," D'Souza said.
To stem the exodus, pro-Hindu outfits Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Sri Ram Sena activists rushed to the city railway station and inter-state bus terminal and dissuaded the northeast people from leaving the city.
With the help of non-government organisations and civil society members, the activists have arranged lunch and supper to hundreds of northeast people, including students camping at the railway station for the next elusive train to Guwahati or Howrah.
"The fact that only northeast people/students are getting rumours and not others on their mobiles as SMS or MMS reveals that they are being sent from the north-eastern region to their kith and kin living in Bangalore or other cities of the state," D'Souza said.
A member of the Assam Society of Bangalore admitted that northeast people/students were getting calls and messages from back home (northeast region) to return home at the earliest or before the Ramadan fast ends with Eid-ul-Fitr.
In a related development, police appealed to qazis (priests) in mosques across the city to advise the devout who gather for Friday prayers to maintain peace and not to fall prey to rumours or cause panic among other members, leading to exodus.