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Centre mulls Tania statue

New Delhi, June 7: The Centre is examining a proposal to build Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania’s statue in the capital as a symbol of its resolve to fight discrimination.

Tania died on January 30 after being lynched by a mob at Lajpat Nagar market here the previous day. His mother Marina has requested the Centre to declare January 30 as “Anti-Racism Day” in her son’s memory. The day, when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, is already observed as Martyrs’ Day.

“Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on that day but we made the proposal because Tania was declared dead on that day,” Marina told The Telegraph. “The government has written to me saying they are examining the request to erect a statue,” she added.

On Thursday, Marina called on minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju to press for expediting decision on her proposal. He assured her that Delhi police would recruit more personnel from the Northeast and punish policemen responsible for delayed action in Tania case.

Tania’s death had become a rallying point for students and activists from across the Northeast, leading to the demand for a strong anti-racism law to stem discrimination.

Sources said the government is debating whether a separate law is needed since surveys show that the percentage of assaults on northeasterners out of the total number of such incidents is quite low.

In a related development, the M.P. Bezbaruah committee, which was constituted by the government under pressure from activists after Tania’s death, has recommenced its meeting with stakeholders in a bid to come up with comprehensive recommendations on anti-discrimination measures.

The committee held a meeting with professionals today. “We will visit Chennai and hold another meeting before coming up with the final report on July 6,” a home ministry source said. A media interaction will be held by the panel on June 12.

The committee was mandated to look into incidents of violence against women and young people from the Northeast across India, particularly in metros. There are large number of students from the region living in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and Calcutta, besides Pune and Chandigarh.

A recent study by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research and sponsored by the National Commission for Women revealed that around 60 per cent of women who moved to the metros from the region, faced harassment and discrimination.

Delhi police is also working on setting up Northeast cells in each police station in the capital, a demand that was part of the poll manifesto of the BJP’s Delhi unit.


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