New Delhi, Aug 17 (ANI): Expressing anguish at the exodus of northeastern people from Pune, Bangalore and other major cities, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj on Friday said the Parliament must unite to tackle the northeast issue.

Let us say in one voice in this Parliament to all residents of the North-East that this country is yours...we are all with you...study, live where you want...you will be looked after, Swaraj told the Lok Sabha during a debate on Assam.

We must rise above politics and tackle the northeast issue, she added.

Reiterating that northeast was a very important area and critical to national security, Swaraj said that the government should attempt to make its citizens feel secure instead of only talking to insurgent groups.

She also demanded the setting up of helplines for northeastern people.

Please set up helplines...organize patrols in areas where they live...let them rest assured that they are looked after. Set up helplines for them everywhere, she added.

Union Home Secretary R.K Singh earlier in the day said that strict action will be taken against those spreading rumours about attacks on people from the northeast.

People found spreading rumours wouldn't be spared. Those responsible for exodus from Bangalore will not go scott free, Singh told the media here.

The fear of being targeted on communal lines in the wake of the recent Assam riots has led to an exodus of people from Assam working in Karnataka. (ANI)