25,000 from N-E flee Bangalore in 3 days
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DESPITE peace meetings, assurances of security by politicians and the police, and offers of shelter in mosques by Muslim leaders, the outflow from Bangalore of people from the Northeast continued on Friday.
When a special train left the Bangalore City railway station for Guwahati at 3:45 pm on Friday, a total of 20,000 unreserved tickets had been issued by the Railways to people from the Northeast, mostly from Assam, in just three days.
With crowds of people continuing to throng the station through Friday evening, the total number of people to have fled Bangalore since August 15 is expected to cross 25,000 by midnight, when the last train of the week for Guwahati is scheduled to leave.
In the last three days, the Railways have operated nine trains choc-a-block with people to Guwahati, including six special trains apart from the Guwahati Express that runs at 11:35 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. At least one more special train was expected to ply on Friday.
The Karnataka government's efforts to bring together people from various Northeast communities, members of civil society, Muslim legislators and leaders from various sections of society were not successful in stemming the exodus of nearly 20 per cent of the population of Northeast people in Bangalore.
While the people who participated in peace meetings with the police and political leaders belong to a college-educated, well-off class living in middle-class localities around Bangalore, people who are leaving the city are found to be largely working-class people living in cheap accommodations around the city and in areas with minority populations.
Most people on the trains had either not heard of assurances of safety in Bangalore and were leaving because their friends were all leaving under perceived threats or because their families back home had asked them to return.
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