Tell NE India students they are safe

GUWAHATI, (Dr Walter Fernandes) — I had written to most of you in the morning (16 August) about the situation of the NE people in Bangalore. I had said that a few thousands had fled Bangalore because of false rumours spread by some groups. I had requested to tell your contacts in Bangalore and their relatives in North East India that they are safe and that they do not have to worry. They should not leave Bangalore. I am just back after a full day of meetings and discussion with various groups and this is the latest.

The first point is that it is true that many thousands have fled Bangalore but we do not know the exact number. The railways announced that 4,793 tickets were booked for Guwahati in a single day and they have put two extra trains on the route. I have not heard the latest.

Secondly we found out who was behind the false rumours. It is the fundamentalist group Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena – the group that was behind the attack on Prashant Bhushan inside the Supreme Court Premises. They have been sending SMS messages and writing on the facebook that the Muslims are planning a massive attack on them after the ID celebrations and that they should leave Bangalore. They spread rumours that there have already been many attacks and gave a mobile number to contact in case of attacks or fear.

One civil society person contacted that number and asked the person who claimed to be head of the Sena for details on the attacks. He said that he did not have any details but had only heard of attacks. That is where we stand.

Another rumour spread that seven people had died in Nelasandra and three more in Koramangala etc. on the outskirts of Bangalore. Inquiries showed that they were false rumours. Persons who visited the railway station tell us that around 100 persons belonging to this or some other similar outfit are standing at the station with lathis on the pretext of protecting people from the NE. All of it seems to be part of a well worked out plan to cause panic through false rumours. They have also been threatening people.

This morning there was a threat on the Sena facebook more or less like “You supporters of Bangladeshis, if you do in Delhi what you are doing in other places we will break both your hands and legs.” Another message said “Instead of punishing the Bangladeshis you are providing trains. You are anti-national.” (this is paraphrase, not the exact wording).

Have there been attacks? Yes, there were a few, some of them physical. Most of them took the form of Muslim house owners asking the NE tenants to leave the house for fear of attacks. Most of those who had suffered some physical attacks have left. We do not know who attaccked them. But the main problem is that people of NE live in fear and do not report any attack. It happened after L. Richard’s murder and it is happening again. They are afraid of going to the police. So the work during the day was to get details of any attacks suffered and to go to the police.

A meeting of persons from NE was held at St Joseph’s Arts and Science collegpt e. The hall has place for 400 and at least 200 were standing – All except 30 from NE, most of them students and also leaders of different NE organisations. The Principal of the college Fr Daniel Fernandes told them that these rumours are false and that they should not leave. He has offered them space in the college to stay. Some class rooms have been vacated and even girls will be allowed to stay there till it is safe to move out. They have extra protection at the entrance because the Sangh parivar can plan an attack. So they are safe inside and girls have been given the safest place.

Leaders of six Muslim organisations and the Secretary General of the Karnataka Federation of Muslim organisations told them that no Muslim will plan any violence in the holy month of Ramadan and that the rumours are false. They have stationed a few thousands of their cadres all over Bangalore to prevent any attack on persons from NE. Their protection will be the theme of the sermon in all the mosques of Bangalore tomorrow. Also two police officers told them not to believe the rumours. An NE delegation met the CM together with the Chief Secretary and the DGP. All of them are feeling the pressure of the combined effort of the NE-Muslim-civil society leaders and have assured them full protection. Some persons have gone out already to some sensitive areas in the suburbs to ensure their protection.

After the big meeting some of us met with the leaders of NE, Muslims and others to discuss the strategy. A coordination group has been formed with some NE, Muslim and civil society leaders. They will meet once in two days to review the situation. They will hold a joint press meet tomorrow. So please tell everyone that they are safe. Please give them the contact numbers:

Police control room: 080-22942222. 09480801020. The name of the police officer put specially in charge of this task is Mr D’Souza. (I have forgotten his first name. The coordinator of the civil society coalition that organised this meeting is: Manohar Elavarthi (0) 9483950202.

Please avoid all panic and reassure your people at home. The students keep getting frantic calls from NE. Please reassure them. Bye

Walter

Dr Walter Fernandes
North Eastern Social Research Centre
110 Kharghuli Road (1st floor)
Guwahati 781-004
Assam, India
Tel. (+91-361) 2602819
Fax: (+91-361) 2602713 (Attn. NESRC)
Email: nesrcghy@gmail.com
Website: www.nesrc.org
Webpage: www.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/NESRC

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7 Comments

Filed under Northeast India students

7 responses to “Tell NE India students they are safe

  1. PBM Basaiawmoit

    It is both truth and rumour; rumour that Muslims will attack or have attacked person(s) from NEI but yet to be proven; truth in that person(s) from NE are not safe. Attack may come from any quarter, not necessarily from Muslims but possibly from BKSS members.
    Then, the inadequate knowledge about the region and its peoples is another danger that may arise from mistaken identity like Karnataka’s Home Minister constant saying ‘don’t go back to Assam’ when the flashback on TV were of persons residing beyond Assam.
    It’s ironical that these are happening not only in Karnataka but Maharshtra, UP & even National Capital Territory & may be elsewhere over a period of time and also at a time when the only & first woman boxer to bring back
    a medal from the London Olympics hails from NEI, Manipur State (not Assam) & from a small (20-25,000) Kom tribe from a nation of billion+ population. Much has to be done. pbm basaiawmoit

  2. Here is a response from a friend, sidharatha swapana roy on facebook who attended the pune meeting held today a few hours back-

    Just out of the meeting called by Commissioner of Police Pune regarding the NE people’s issue along with comrade Ganesh Darade.

    Kudos to the superbly democratic approach taken by Pune police. DYFI Pune will issue a press statement soon but a couple of points I’d like to quickly highlight

    1) The hall was full of “identifiably” Muslim people who unequivocally said “my home is open for them”

    A man who looks after the maintenance of a Masjid said “There were 30 Assamese workers who lived in my neighbourhood. Thanks to their cleaning and repairing of the old Masjid near my place it can now accommodate 300 people for prayers at one time. But yeterday they left all of a sudden. How am I to celebrate Eid without them?”

    2) A Manipuri student who as per an SMS was reported to have been beaten and chased out of Ferguson college (and was said to have left Pune) took the mike smiled and said “No nothing has happened to me”

    3) The Mufti (after reciting Sahir) said “I told my audience after the prayers if you receive an SMS that tells you to get angry about what’s happened in Assam, delete it. We will not fight battles in the name of Assam in Pune”

  3. Reblogged this on kracktivist and commented:
    Please avoid all panic and reassure your people at home. The students keep getting frantic calls from NE. Please reassure them.

  4. Vinayachandra

    One should not be prejudiced to this extent.
    1. CNN IBN and many other News channels have interviewed NE students who were attacked and threatened on a bike. It is no fake alarm. They were not belonging to any sena. Why do you miss this?
    2. People with lathis who you refer to are there in the railway station during day and night assuring security to NE students, providing them with food and water without caring for their own needs. Why do you paint it in bad light? Coming to help is a ‘well worked out plan to cause panic’?
    Pls come out of the false glasses that you are wearing and look at reality

  5. Raajellung

    I still dont believe even after the assurances unless concrete action then mere words. I think its already more than a week old before initiative was taken by the states. Its not about threat from a single community. Am more discontent with the bias response taking into consideration the nation wide news flash of communal violence at North-East of India. The sensivity of the incident should have made the govt. more pro-active. Besides, the NGOs parroting after the words of the state leaders of safety is not a good practice unless cross checking is done on whether assurances are being carried out as needed in an effective way. Because, at such times as this, public rely more on the authentication of NGOs over govt.’s assurances.

  6. Satyam-Shivam-Sundarm

    It is no more a doubt that a group of so called religious and nationalist do not like communal harmony in the country. We should be aware of their motives. I pray to God that their evil plans will never get success.

  7. Fazal

    I knew it. Crazy Hindu groups posing as “muslims” in a Hindu state & forcing arrests of innocent muslims in one region and watching tribal forest worshippers butchering muslims in another region of the country.

    The truth is, India will continue to suppress the poor, marginalised class for the upkeep of the richer society.

    This is my India. Where fanatic Hindus want a pyscho CM to become the PM of the country.

    Jai Hind.

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