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No time to be opaque

Published Aug 19, 2012 08:27pm

ITHE exodus of north-easterners from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune after threats of physical attacks … is a symptom of a deep-rooted malaise…. … The problem is an old one and is widely known: the neglect of the region and its lack of integration with ‘mainland’ India. …[M]any north-easterners have categorically stated that they don’t believe that the state governments will do enough to ensure their safety. It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in the country: people have more faith in being with their own communities than in the administrators who are supposed to protect every Indian, irrespective of which part of the country they come from.

With the state machinery now in action, hopefully peace will be restored in some time. The demand of earning a livelihood and the lack of opportunities in that part of the country will again push many from the NE to venture to other parts. But the scars and fear will remain…. (Aug 17)

Please come back

HOWSOEVER intangible the source or origin of rumours, their effect on normal, everyday life can be devastatingly real.

…India’s tenuous social fabric is once again under severe strain. … That rumours could set off such panic speaks to the sense of insecurity that the young migrants lived under. …

…[T]he authorities concerned do not appear to have expended much energy in trying to trace the source of this sinister rumour-mongering. Many of the SMSs circulating contain fabricated information about attacks by Muslims on people from the northeast, including killings, suggesting there are unknown individuals and groups out there actively trying to create panic and drive a wedge between these two minority groups.

Over the long-term, ‘mainland’ India needs to be more welcoming towards its fellow-citizens from the northeast.  There should be zero-tolerance of prejudice against ethnic or other minorities.—(Aug 18)