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After exodus, north easterners return to Bangalore

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Reflecting a gradual return of normalcy after the panic exodus, people from the Northeast (NE) headed back to Bangalore in special trains from . The situation also eased on Monday in other parts of Karnataka as well as Tamil Nadu.

A spokesman of the , , said in Guwahati that three special trains had left for Bangalore yesterday taking back in a phased manner those who had fled from the capital of Karnataka fearing attacks on them following rumours that their lives were in danger in the wake of ethnic violence in . The official, however, could not give the exact number of those returning to Bangalore.

Government officials said it would take two to three days before all of them returned to Bangalore and other cities like Pune and Chennai from where thousands of fear-stricken northeasterners had fled.

Up to 30,000 people had fled the country’s information technology capital, Bangalore, since late last week. The situation abated yesterday after the government went on overdrive to instill confidence in the people belonging to the northeast. Over 18,000 police personnel, bolstered by (RAF) and Central Reserve Police Force (), kept vigil in Bangalore with also being celebrated today.

“The situation is absolutely peaceful and normal. People from the northeast are going about their chores without any disturbance, and the exodus has completely stopped,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Suneel Kumar said.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today deplored attempts to rake up trouble. “Do not listen to rumours. Please maintain peace and harmony,” she told the huge congregation for Eid namaz at the Red Road here.

“We do not support this (violence). We will give all support (to Assam) in the prevailing situation. Those who have taken shelter in Jalpaiguri district (of West Bengal) are our guests... We have given them shelter. If any of them do not want to return now we will continue to provide them shelter,” she said.

To assess relief and rehabilitation requirements of violence-affected people, a team of seven senior Central officials will visit Assam tomorrow. The inter-ministerial delegation of Joint Secretaries will visit Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Chirang and Baksa districts and see the steps being taken for relief and rehabilitation of those affected during the recent violence between Bodos and immigrant minorities.

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