Perched midway between Bangalore’s Kodihalli and Indiranagar neighbourhoods, the Glitz beauty parlour has been shut for the last several days. There is little surprise in finding out why. A favourite for locals, it normally buzzes with activity every evening. But the six women who run it are from Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, two states in northeast India. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } People from India's northeastern states sit inside a train bound for Assam at the railway station in Kolkata August 18, 2012. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files People from India's northeastern states sit inside a train bound for Assam at the railway station in Kolkata August 18, 2012. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files People from India's northeastern states sit inside a train bound for Assam at the railway station in Kolkata August 18, 2012. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

The people who come from these states, with their proximity to Bhutan, China and Myanmar, often resemble people from east Asia rather than India. Thousands of them, drawn to better-paying jobs in other parts of India, have fled cities such as Mysore, Bangalore and Pune after threats of violence at the hands of Muslims angry about clashes in Assam between Muslim illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Indian Bodo tribespeople that have left nearly 80 people dead and 400,000 interned in squalid refugee camps.

Clearly, the women at Glitz did not believe the central government’s assurances from New Delhi that Bangalore is safe after widespread rumours delivered by text message that their lives were in danger.

“Kuch SMS aaya, aur woh log chupke se chala gaya,” said the landlord in broken Hindi, meaning, “They received some SMS messages, and then they just ran away.” He does not have any idea when they might return. “I told them nothing will happen, don’t leave, but they were very scared.”

Bangalore’s police force and the state of Karnataka have reinforced Delhi’s message that nobody from the northeastern community has been attacked, but among these people there is little confidence that they would be protected wherever they live.