After the recent mass exodus of the Northeast people from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh due to threats post the communal violence in Assam, the Indian government has imposed a ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes across the country to check spread of rumours which has led to exodus of north eastern people from certain states.
Fake text messages claiming that people from the North-east will be targeted in Delhi after Ramzan have circulated with police & many people. As a result more than 15,000 people have fled the city in the past two days following the rumours.
Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore, Anil Kumar Agarwal, told that the Railways had sold 9,718 tickets for the two special trains that headed to Guwahati last night. Officials estimate the number of people from the northeast, including students, residing in Bangalore in the range of 2.5 lakh and 2.75 lakh. In Chennai, over 1,000 people from the northeast were reported to have taken trains out of the city.
The Home Ministry has asked Department of Telecommunications to implement the order through the telecom operators. From today onwards, no one will be able to send more than 5 SMSes in one go and more than 20 KB of data through mobile phones during the ban period.
Union Home Secretary R K Singh told,
“We have banned bulk SMSes and MMSes for 15 days. We will detect those who are spreading rumours. Those responsible for the exodus from Bangalore will not go scot free.”
The restriction came into force after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that spread of rumours by miscreants had led to people belonging to the north east to flee from Bangalore, Pune and some other parts of the country.