North East Students Organisation members stage a demonstration in Guwahati to condemn Tania’s death. (PTI)
New Delhi, Feb. 25: The Centre today initiated a slew of measures to increase sensitivity about people from the Northeast in major cities and drew up a comprehensive plan, including toll-free helplines, to prevent discrimination.
Union home secretary Anil Goswami held a meeting with police commissioners of metros to discuss assaults on people from the Northeast settled outside the region. The meeting follows widespread protests in the wake of the death of Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, in Delhi on January 29.
An analysis of migration trends of people from the region to cities for jobs and education revealed that about half-a-million people from the region live in India’s big cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore besides the four metros. Half of that population lives in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).
Goswami met police commissioners of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune and senior police officers from NCR. Inspector-generals of police from Meerut, Gurgaon and Faridabad also attended the meeting.
One of the complaints against the police has been non-registration of complaints. Registration of an FIR is mandatory, the home ministry has reiterated, sources said. The Centre has advised metropolitan police to sensitise its personnel, hold conferences with residents welfare associations and churches and map areas where people from the Northeast live, the sources said.
Students and families from the Northeast usually live in ghetto-like conditions and officials conceded that they suffer from tenancy conditions imposed by landlords.
A trend of crimes against them for the past three years was also analysed in the presence of senior officials from the National Crime Records Bureau, the sources said. The red flags were raised by the attacks in Bangalore and Delhi in the past two years. Rape of women from Manipur was also put on record as targeted attacks.
The police were told to monitor social media, interact with people from the region and receive feedback. Like Delhi police, other city police chiefs were asked to appoint a DCP-ranked officer as a nodal officer in a Northeast cell. They also considered options of area security committees and comprehensive standard operating procedures for the police. A toll-free line 1093 has already been launched in Delhi.
The DoNER ministry’s idea of a Northeast civic centre was mooted for other cities.
The scope of work may be expanded as people from outside the Northeast but with Mongoloid features have also complained of discrimination.
The M.P. Bezbaruah-led committee, which held hearings recently, was approached by groups from Ladakh and Uttarakhand also.