Hyderabad: The riots in Assam, the subsequent violence in Mumbai and the ongoing exodus from Bangalore have triggered panic among students from the North East in the twin cities. It appears that some have left the city fearing attacks. They are happy to be back with their parents in their native places but worried about their education.
Thingam Bipin, a PhD scholar of comparative literature at the University of Hyderabad and a member of the Hyderabad Manipuri Society, explained, “a number of students have already gone home and more are booking tickets. A lot of people see a threat to their lives even though they may not be from Assam because people from the North East look alike at least for outsiders.”
The Hyderabad Manipuri Society has a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/hyderbadmanipurisociety/ wherein it has given helpline numbers both of the police as well as itself to help students from the North East in case they come under attack. “We will have a meeting shortly with all the students. We will decide what needs to be done. For people, who fear attacks, we have a Facebook group called the Hyderabad Manipuri Society. We have helpline numbers and they can call for help any time,” said Bipin.
The society is trying to convince students not to go home and is coordinating with the police too. “We have been in regular talks with the police and if the students have a problem, we will also provide them shelter,” Bipin told City Express. Despite their best efforts, a sense of insecurity has crept in among the students and most of them are preferring to stay put in the campuses be it the University of Hyderabad or the English and Foreign Languages University. “We prefer not getting out of the campus. We do not go out at night and during the day, we go out in groups,” said another member of the society who wished not to be named.
The police are taking pains to allay their fears but rumour mills are, it seems, working overtime to give them nightmares. Rumours of possible violence after Monday and unverified reports of assaults, threats and even evictions are doing the rounds. Some claimed there was proof for two incidents, one of assault and another of eviction at King Koti but they couldn’t be independently verified and none has lodged a police complaint.
For the students, this is like a Catch 22 situation. “We are on the losing side. If we leave Hyderabad, we will lose our education and job prospects. Staying here is a threat and uncertainty back home is another major concern,” pointed out a student of the University of Hyderabad who wished not to be named.
There are others though like Moasunec, a Naga and also a student of the University of Hyderabad, who are not unduly worried. “I’m staying in the campus and I don’t feel a threat. Right now, I don’t intend to go back. I’m planning to go back home only if the situation worsens,” he said.