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'Delhi Leads in Racial Discrimination Against People From NE'

New Delhi
File - PTI Photo/ Manvender Vashist

The national capital has the dubious distinction of being ahead of the rest of the country in "racial discrimination" against people from the northeast region, a committee has told the Delhi High Court.

Taking a grim view of the report of the 11-member panel, headed by M P Bezbaruah, a bench, headed by Chief Justice G Rohini, asked the Union Home Ministry to file an action taken report (ATR) on or before September 10, the next date of hearing.

The committee, which had submitted its 80-page report to the Ministry in July, was set up after 19-year-old Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania was killed in an alleged racial attack in Lajpat Nagare locality here earlier this year.

As per the report, over two lakh people have migrated to Delhi from northeastern states between 2005 and 2013 and about 86 per cent of them have faced some form of racial discrimination.

However, people from the Northeast faced more problems in Delhi as compared to other metros like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata, the report said.

It also said over two-thirds of women from the Northeast have reported that they faced discrimination or harassment in Delhi.

The panel said that apart from the language and communication difficulties faced by them, the "Mongoloid" appearance of people from Northeast also "accentuates" their problems.

It has suggested several long and short-term measures to tackle the issue after consulting various ministries and departments.

One of the sugestions said serious legal reform was necessary by changing the IPC to make racial discrimination an offence and introducing special police units and fast track courts for trying hate crimes.

The committee has also suggested NCERT introduce certain aspects of the "Northeast ethos" into the curriculum to "integrate each aspect of the region into the consciousness of the people outside."

Resources of the Information and Broadcasting ministry could also be used to create awareness about this issue, the report has said. 

The court had earlier expressed anguish over continuing incidents of violence against people from the Northeast despite its orders and had sought a report from the government on the steps taken by it to curb "the menace plaguing the society".

Delhi police had told the court that a Special Police Unit (SPU) has been set up for dealing with such crimes and the SPU has been effective as required actions are being taken promptly.

The court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about the death of Tania.

The fresh hearing in the PIL is centred on the recent death of a Manipuri youth in south Delhi on July 20 after being assaulted by five persons.

Earlier, the court had issued a slew of directions to ensure the safety and security of people, hailing from northeastern states, here and said the police from those states can be deployed in Delhi to instill faith in the victims.

It had also asked Delhi Police to take preventive measures besides sensitising the police force towards the need and grievances of people hailing from that region.

Besides recruiting northeastern citizens in police, the bench had also asked it to establish a special unit on the lines of Crime Against Women cell to redress the grievances of persons of that region.

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