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Outrage in Assembly over attacks

- House adopts resolution

Imphal, Feb. 25: Outrage over racial attacks on students of the Northeast in Delhi echoed today in the Manipur Assembly with members cutting across party lines condemning the incidents and the House adopting a resolution to urge the Centre to protect the people.

At the end of a nearly one-and-a-half hour discussion, which was participated by a dozen members, leader of the House Okram Ibobi Singh moved a resolution, which was passed unanimously. The resolution condemned the killing of Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, rape of a minor girl from Manipur and also molestation of two girls and attacks on three other students, all from Manipur. It also urged the Centre to protect people from the Northeast. Ibobi Singh said the resolution would be sent to the Centre to convey the sentiments of the House and also to press for adequate steps to prevent such crimes in the national capital and other cities in the future.

Trinamul Congress member Th. Shyamkumar Singh and Manipur State Congress Party (regional party) member R.K. Imo Singh jointly moved a motion to draw the attention of the House to the recent Delhi “racial attacks.”

Intervening in the discussion, public health engineering minister Irengbam Hemochandra Singh suggested that the motion be converted into a short duration discussion motion to allow all the members participate in the discussion. As Ibobi Singh did not oppose the idea, Speaker Th. Lokeshwar Singh changed the motion to a short duration discussion.

Informing the House about the steps taken by his government after the attacks, Ibobi Singh said his government was working on modalities of opening a Manipur government helpline at Delhi Manipur Bhavan to jointly work with Delhi police and also to extend help to people of the Northeast in time of need.

Deputy chief minister and home minister Gaikhangam said of the 86,564 cases of violence registered in different police stations in Delhi last year, 73 victims were from the Northeast.

He said 50 people from the Northeast were victims of violence in 2012 and 27 in 2011, making a point that the attacks were increasing every year. Gaikhangam stopped short of calling the attacks racial.

“The attacks seem to be a racial one, which triggered panic among people from the Northeast staying in Delhi,” he said. Responding to demands from the members cutting across party lines for enacting an anti-racism law, Gaikhangam maintained there was enough law to deal with the crimes. “If the existing laws are strictly enforced, crime can be checked,” he said. Imo Singh, P. Brojen (Manipur State Congress Party) and Ng. Bijoy Singh (Congress) demanded inclusion of lessons on the Northeast in school syllabus to sensitise the people in other states.