North-East exodus: Facebook, Twitter to be shut in India?

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Bangalore, Aug 17: It seems that the central and state governments' appeal to North East people not to leave Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and other cities fell on deaf ears. The exodus of North Eastern people continue to leave for their home states, despite assurances. Amid the grave situation, many have started demanding to shutdown social networking sites in the country for some time to prevent the spreading of such rumours.

Joining Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil, a Samajwadi Party MP, Ramgopal Yadav also stated in Rajya Sabha that social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter should be closed for a few days to prevent the spreading of rumours that are prompting thousands of Northeastern students and people to flee to their home.

The MP along with many other officials believe that social networking sites were being misused to spread rumours on ethnic clashes between the Bodos and Muslims in Assam.

Earlier, Mr Patil was quoted as saying, "We are requesting the central government in helping shut down social networking sites found involved in spreading rumours."

"I have asked police to set aside routine work if need be and concentrate on providing security to people from North East who live in Maharashtra," added Mr Patil.

According to rumours, some unidentified group allegedly circulated some SMSs and emails threatening North-East people to leave the cities before Ramazan. They allegedly have been threatened of attack in metro cities.

Here arises a question for the government and other officials who have been urging to shutdown the social networking sites in the country - can such move really assure the safety of people from North-East who have so far been neglected in their own country?

Mass exodus continued for the second straight day on Friday with three more packed trains leaving for Guwahati. There was a commotion in the Bangalore railway stations with police trying hard to pacify the North Eastern citizens.

Similar kind of hullabaloo was seen in Hyderabad, Chennai and Mysore as well. However, assuring about their security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday stated, "At all cost we will ensure peace and harmony in the country. We would like all state governments to work with local communities to this effect."

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