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Sibal to meet students on May 8

Imphal, May 5: Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal has invited a group of students from the Northeast to discuss the problems they face while studying in other cities.

Coordinators of the Justice for Richard Loitam Facebook campaign told this correspondent that the Union minister has invited Monika Khangembam, a Manipuri student in Bangalore, to be a member of the group of students from the region.

She had coordinated the Facebook campaign, which resulted in the nationwide movement for justice in the death of Richard.

Sibal will meet the students in Delhi on May 8, with some students from the region and those studying in Delhi taking part in the meeting.

A group belonging to the Facebook campaign today met Richard’s father, Loitam Rajesh, here to inform him about the minister’s invitation and sought his opinion on the issues to be taken before the Union minister.

Richard’s father said he wanted an unbiased investigation and booking of the culprits. “If Bangalore police cannot find the truth, I want the case to be taken over by an independent agency like the CBI,” Loitam Rajesh said.

The students are expected to urge Sibal to have a thorough study of the “racial profiling” of Northeasterners in other cities and take remedial measures according to the findings of such a study.

Sibal’s move comes after the death of Richard and Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma’s niece Dana Sangma triggered strong protests not only in the Northeast but across the country.

While Richard, an architecture student, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his hostel room on April 18, Dana, an MBA student, committed suicide in her room in Gurgaon on April 24, after she was allegedly humiliated by an invigilator in the examination hall.

Monika confirmed that the minister has invited her and said the meeting would also be attended by policy makers, student representatives and academics, who will discuss “issues of the Northeast” and look for solutions. The meeting will last one hour.

Despite home minister P. Chidambaram’s clarification that there was no racial profiling of Northeasterners in other cities, students from the region felt it existed and they had been harassed on this count.

Chidambaram had yesterday told Rajya Sabha that there was no discrimination or racial profiling of Northeast students and asked the state governments to take up measures for their security.


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