NEW DELHI - India’s prime minister said Friday that the unity of the country was at stake as thousands of migrants from the northeast continued to flee Bangalore and other cities after anonymous threats. Extra trains were put on for the second night in a row to accommodate panicked students and workers leaving the south and returning to their homes in the northeastern state of Assam. The exodus has been sparked by threats sent via mobile phones and the Internet that Assamese people would be attacked by Muslims after the end of the holy month of Ramadan next week in reprisal for recent ethnic violence.
Bulk text messages were on Friday temporarily banned to try to halt the spread of threats and incendiary rumours. Three weeks of clashes in remote Assam between members of the Bodo tribal community and Muslims have claimed 80 lives and displaced more than 400,000 people. “What is at stake is the unity and integrity of our country. What is at stake is communal harmony,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told parliament.