New Delhi, May 4, 2012
In the wake of uproar over death of two youth from North East recently, government today said it will write to all states asking them to have “zero tolerance” towards crime against people from that region as serious concern was expressed in Rajya Sabha over it.
Home Minister P Chidambaram rejected allegations about racial profiling of people from North East anywhere in the country but said there has been “certain discrimination” against “certain people”, which was earlier in the name of language and region.
Chidambaram was replying to a Calling Attention Motion moved by Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley on harassment of students of North eastern states in the wake of death of two students from North East in Gurgaon (Haryana) and Bengaluru. Speaking on the motion, several members voiced concern over growing number of such incidents in Delhi and other parts of the country and asked government to act against those who indulge in discrimination against them and take other steps.
Chidambaram said the Home Ministry had issued clear instructions to Delhi Police in 2009 for “zero-tolerance” towards cases of crime against women in general and crime against women of North Eastern states in particular. “On October 25, 2010, a more clear and comprehensive order to Delhi Police in this regard was issued by the Home Ministry,” he informed the members. “I intend to issue the circular in a more modified form to all states…for chief ministers to make police of all states aware of harassment towards students from NE,” he said. “The Government of India will take every step to ensure their security and I am confident that all state governments will discharge their constitutional responsibilities to ensure the safety and security of all people residing within that state,” Chidambaram said.
He said the Centre accorded “highest importance to development of North Eastern region as well as prevention of atrocities against Schedule Tribe and will not countenance discrimination in any form.”
Referring to the recent death of Dana Sangma in Gurgaon near Delhi and of Richard Loitum in Bengaluru besides allegations of racial profiling against Tibetans during the recent BRICS summit, he said these have caused disquiet and agitation among the community, especially students from the region.
Stressing that students from the region have right to security and peace and they are “free to travel and reside in any part of the country,” Chidambaram said it was not correct that the students from the North Eastern states in Delhi were more vulnerable as compared to students from other regions. He said while the exact number students from North East was not available a number of them resided in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune to take advantage of the vast opportunities available in other parts of the country and “it is their right to do so.” “I have no numbers of students from NE studying in other parts. It should not be collected as it would amount to racial profiling also,” he said. He said he welcomed mingling of students from North East region in rest of India and assured them all help. Elaborating the steps to address the problems faced by students from North East, Chidambaram said DCP-level officers have been designated as nodal officers to specifically address their problems. “Besides, a North East Connect Cell, headed by a joint secretary-level officer has been formed…to serve as a coordination point with resident commissioners of 8 North Eastern States,” he added.