India accuses Pakistan on SMS rumors
A man tries to board an overcrowded train before it leaves for Assam. REUTERS photo
India has blamed Pakistan for posting threatening messages that triggered a mass exodus from Bangalore and Mumbai by migrants fleeing to their homes in the northeast.
The exodus was sparked by threats sent via mobile phones and the Internet that people from northeastern Assam state would be attacked by Muslims after the end of the Ramadan in reprisal for recent ethnic violence. Local media reports estimated that over 35,000 people have fled the cities in recent days. Extra trains were arranged to accommodate panicked students and workers.
Three weeks of clashes in remote Assam between members of the Bodo tribal community and Muslims have claimed at least 80 lives and displaced more than 400,000 people. Indian Home Secretary R.K. Singh told the Associated Press that investigators had found that most of the websites used images of people killed in cyclones and earthquakes to spread fear. He said most of the images were uploaded from Pakistan. The sites have now been blocked. Singh said India would register a formal protest with Pakistan.