I am a Burmese exile taking a near-permanent refuge in New York and Sydney. Here are my essays about Burma and anything else I feel like writing about. And posting the articles I like from selected sites. Bridging Burma to the world this Blog is more of a Politically-Oriented Literary Blog than a Plain News Blog or a Sophisticated Thoughts Blog.
BANGALORE, India (AP) -- Thousands of panic-stricken Indians from the northeast were fleeing the southern city of Bangalore on Thursday, spurred by rumors they would be attacked in retaliation for communal violence in their home state.
Hundreds of students and workers from Assam state crowded Bangalore's main railway station to try to board trains heading out of the city, while officials tried in vain to assure them of their safety. People pushed and shoved and some climbed in through train windows to make it past the crush at the doors.
The exodus followed clashes in Assam in recent weeks between members of the indigenous Bodo tribe and Muslims that killed more than 50 people and left 400,000 in displacement camps. The violence has spilled to other states where Bodos and other ethnic tribe members from the poor northeast have migrated in search of jobs.
Those fleeing Bangalore said they had heard text messages had been circulating threatening attacks by Muslims.
Bodo-Bengalis riots in Assam (July 2012).
Jagadish Shettar, chief minister of Karnataka state, met separately with Assamese and Muslim leaders Thursday in an effort to restore calm. Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka.
Shettar said no one had seen any threatening text messages and authorities were trying to find out who was behind the rumors. He said police and security forces were on alert and telephone helplines had been set up to give a sense of security to people in the city.
Despite Shettar's assurances, many from the northeast said they felt insecure.
"As a person from the northeast, we always stick out in a crowd. And sometimes that makes us afraid of being easy targets," said Ganesh Khanal, a garment industry worker trying to board a train at Bangalore railway station.