Dawn News

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. — Photo by AFP/File

NEW DELHI: India's prime minister assured migrants from the northeast of the country that they were safe as thousands continued to flee from Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities on Friday, fearing a backlash from violence against Muslims in Assam state.

Railway authorities have laid on extra trains from Bangalore and other cities this week for the two-day journey back to Assam in the northeast. Some media reports said that by Friday as many as 15,000 people had left cities in the south and west, including Mumbai and Pune.

“What is at stake is the unity of our country. What is at stake is communal harmony,” Prime Minister Manmohan 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.”

Muslims across India have been alarmed by clashes in recent weeks between indigenous people in the northeastern state of Assam and Muslim settlers from neighbouring Bangladesh.

About 75 people have been killed and more than 400,000 displaced.

Two people were killed and dozens were wounded last week when about 10,000 people rioted in the city of Mumbai following a protest by Muslims against the violence in the northeast.

Rumours of revenge attacks by Muslims have been swirling, many of which have been carried on social media and mass mobile phone text messages.

“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.

The Assam violence angered India's Muslims, who represent about one-fifth of the population, and raised tensions in a country where religious and ethnic divisions have simmered for decades, occasionally erupting into communal blood-letting.

India's 1.2 billion people are predominantly Hindu.

Analysts have accused political parties and religious organisations of exploiting ethnic tension for their ends.

The Hindu nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has in the past been accused of fomenting Hindu-Muslim violence, blames the Assam riots on uncontrolled immigration into the state from Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

It says the Congress party, which leads the coalition running the federal government, allows immigration to win votes from new arrivals.

Hundreds of thousands of people from the poverty-plagued northeast live in the south and west of the country, studying in colleges or working in industries such as construction, restaurants, hotels and security. Media reports said that in Bangalore alone there are about quarter of a million.

Interior ministry officials declined to put a number on the exodus, but in just one city - Pune in the west - railway officials said that at least 3,000 more than usual had taken trains to Kolkata, gateway to the northeast, since Monday.

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Comments (37) Closed

Aug 17, 2012 11:04am
Social Media and mobile technology comes with good and bad.... and it is the one example of user generated content(UGC).
Aug 17, 2012 04:29pm
Proably Dawn is among the very FEW good things still left in Pak. By contrast India has many, though Media might not be one of them.
Aug 17, 2012 05:06pm
Well said Zahid. My sentiments exactly.
Malak Ghulam
Aug 17, 2012 04:45pm
Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or other Minorities have never got their Fair Share in India. And that is a true Tradegy.
Aug 17, 2012 08:19am
And the chaos has been spread by two International blogs . Its really pathetic these peace lover and placid people were moving to North East due to rumors . Well Indian govt should try to stop them ( those evil people ) and nailed them . It enough . God when we will live without terror . Its time to nail all the Anti National org because National harmony and security should be at top . And India on the verge of another riot or just a ugly political propaganda . In Mumbai some of the Muslim people attacked and destroyed everything . I don't know what kind of people they are ?
Aug 17, 2012 05:06pm
Well, it is a secular country with a Large Muslim minority.. go figure.
Aug 17, 2012 04:36pm
India has bigger risks of internal strife than Pakistan! This issue of communal violence is a major one in India... so many ethnicities and so many cultures.. certainly not a melting pot but like a bubbling volcono waiting to explode. So Indians, learn to look and criticise yourselves before you foam at Pakistan's troubles
Aug 17, 2012 03:29pm
We need protection of majority actually..Pls read it right...1000s of hindus are fleeing because of fear of attack by muslims..In which count
Aug 17, 2012 03:24pm
mr prat290 sab, fine u comment abt ur country's issue, but why do so many indians invade bolgs relating to pakistani news, and may i add spread hatred and nothing else..?
Cyrus Howell
Aug 17, 2012 03:19pm
I totally agree with you.
Cyrus Howell
Aug 17, 2012 03:18pm
They need to keep an eye on Pakistan.
Cyrus Howell
Aug 17, 2012 03:17pm
“What is at stake is the unity of our country." Yes, it could be. "What is at stake is communal harmony." Political rhetoric.
Aug 17, 2012 03:07pm
"Blame it on Muslim" as always
Aug 19, 2012 08:44am
I believe , all who are reading this and posting comments are well educated in their respective space...So being educated and responsible we should try to make a step towards stopping all these instead blaming each other and pointing fingers here and there.... let's do something to stop all these inhumane practices...
Aug 17, 2012 10:29am
Aug 17, 2012 02:05pm
I second that. No wonder, Dawn.com was banned in India during the Kargil conflict.
Aug 17, 2012 02:06pm
Tall claim indeed! It is World Wide Web dude, we are here at our own expense not a free bee at all!
Aug 17, 2012 02:02pm
That might or might not be true and Dawn does carry nice content all around and specially by its opinion columnists, however this news piece's attribution says reuters...
Aug 17, 2012 01:58pm
Just go to the hindustan times or times of india and you will find your sentiment reversed. dawn is nice site.
poruri rao
Aug 18, 2012 11:10am
it is refreshing to read actual facts from dawn.indian news channels and ruling party are afraid of facts
Aug 17, 2012 12:07pm
Its such a narrow thinking . If Dawn can published Indian news then why the hell we can't comment on our country's issue . Typical Pakistani Lol
Aug 17, 2012 12:29pm
Actually its not that Dawn publishes Indian news that you come here to comment. The reason is that Dawn is a great example of good journalism.........something you would be hard pressed to find in India!
Jamshed Khan
Aug 17, 2012 01:08pm
Here it is to a secular country, the one that claims to protect minorities... How come only Pakistan always gets the blame?
Aug 17, 2012 01:35pm
Reason is: in Pakistan it is official policy to favor one religion, and one sect within that religion.
Aug 17, 2012 01:32pm
I'm not sure if there are other media in Pakistan of the kind of 'Dawn', but I would agree with you that most of the English media in India is trash feeding off just sensationalism. But there is always 'The Hindu' as a face-saver anyways..
Aug 17, 2012 01:29pm
Jamshed, did you by any chance notice that in this instance it is the 'majority' community fleeing for their lives due to perceived threats of attacks from 'minorities'? Maybe you assumed that it was 'innocent Muslims' fleeing as usual without putting effor to read the article..
Aug 17, 2012 09:05am
India will / is pay (ing) for its vote bank polities
Pk Hamid
Aug 17, 2012 09:57am
Please, I think it's high time Indians stop beating around the bush and realize how much extremism exists in India, predominantly Hindu extremists. Indians really like to point fingers at Pakistan, well good for you for ignoring your own issues and focusing on ours.
Does it matter
Aug 17, 2012 07:32pm
Well blame the bangladeshi muslim immigrants. Muslims despite being a minority hold india at ransom for a reason.
Pankaj Patel (USA)
Aug 17, 2012 09:05pm
My dear brother India has a secular constitution and it it not a theocratic country like Pakistan.In India Muslims have more rights then other minorities and so there is no comparison.These are very minor problems compare to Pakistan, so yours is well known Pakistani wishful thinking.Until today only two people are killed in Mumbai. I understand it should not be taken lightly, the way we do not take killings of Sikhs in temple in USA lightly.Please do not compare India with Pakistan.Success of Indian democracy is success of human values and all peace loving people have a stake in it.
Aug 18, 2012 02:09am
Because you are Pakistan
Aug 18, 2012 02:27am
Can 10000 minorities riot in Pakistan? And make a section of majority feel insecure? Lets try that.
Ibrahim Shamsi
Aug 18, 2012 03:17am
Your lack of knowledge and your narrow mindedness is testament of your country's pathetic media and information system. Please don't bring your "Times of India" commenters filth here. We like to keep things civilized and educated. .
Aug 18, 2012 04:09am
Aug 18, 2012 05:32am
Did you read the news properly?
Aug 18, 2012 05:54am
i think we need to remove glasses of hatred; we all are humans and as human beings we should look inside and think what we are doing for good. because ultimately everyone has to leave this place and he or she will be remembered what good/bad he has done. please let peace and harmony prevail
Aug 18, 2012 06:07am
if everyone will forget humanity then we will destroy everything and nothing will remain. if at all one wants to know what is humanity look at the face of child. Children come to this earth from GODs home and therefor have HIS characters but as the children grow their minds get corrupted by the society.