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Thousands flee Bengaluru over backlash fears

Rumours of revenge attacks over communal riots

Gulf News

Bengaluru: Thousands of people from India’s northeast fled Bengaluru on Thursday as fear grew of a backlash over communal riots in Assam and Myanmar.

Over the weekend, two people were killed and 55 wounded when about 10,000 people rioted in Mumbai after people held a protest.

People across India have been alarmed by clashes in recent weeks between indigenous people in Assam and settlers from Bangladesh. About 75 people have been killed and more than 400,000 displaced.

Rumours of revenge attacks by angry people have been swirling, many carried on social media. Adding to the climate of fear was a knife attack on a Tibetan student in a town near Bengaluru although the circumstances were not clear.

The jitters sent throngs of northeasterners to Bengaluru railway station, looking for a ride home.

“Right now people from the northeast have got threats to vacate their houses and some of them got beaten up here and there,” said Vivek Raj Kumar, a member of a group representing students from the northeastern state of Manipur.

Top interior ministry official R.K Singh called for calm and said people from the northeast were safe anywhere in the country. He blamed “rumour-mongering” for the panic.