Rumors send thousands fleeing in India
August 17, 2012 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
- As many as 7,000 people have fled, an official said
- Ethnic violence and rioting erupted in Indian state of Assam in July
- "We will do everything to provide security," India's prime minister says
New Delhi (CNN) -- Indian authorities called for calm Friday after panicked people from northeastern India fled cities across the country in fear of retaliatory attacks.
Students and workers from the northeastern state of Assam say they received text messages threatening retribution for ethnic violence that has gripped their state in recent weeks.
The texts prompted as many as 7,000 people to flee cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore, India's technology hub.
Indian authorities banned mass text messages Friday, the Home Ministry said. For the next 15 days, Indians can no longer send more than five texts at a time.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told parliament that he did not want to assign blame but the rumors were an attack on India's unity and integrity.
"I would urge this house to send a message loud and clear to all the people of the northeast residing in different parts of the country that our people are one, that we will do everything to provide security to the people of the northeast residing in various parts of the country," Singh said.
Assam's latest episode of violence erupted after two Muslim boys were shot July 19 by members of the indigenous Bodo tribe, according to J.N. Choudhury, the state's director general of police.
Muslims retaliated by killing four Bodos. That triggered widespread rioting.
Since then, police say at least 80 people have died and more than 300,000 people have been displaced.
The Bodos are Bengali tribals from Bangladesh who migrated to India decades ago; many were brought by the British as laborers.
Now, the Bodos fear being marginalized by the increasing number of Muslims, who have much more recently crossed the border illegally from Bangladesh, and would like to carve out a state of their own in Assam.
CNN's Moni Basu contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.