The Telegraph
 
CIMA Gallary

Northeast migrant law call

New Delhi, July 26: The M.P. Bezbaruah committee suggested in its report to the Centre last month that a law be drafted specifically to prevent discrimination against people from the Northeast living outside the region.

The panel was set up after the lynching of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar in January this year. So far, only the committee’s push for a debate on the need for an anti-racism law was known.

Sources revealed today that the panel had also suggested a framework for a “specific law”, citing a Delhi High Court order — passed after Tania’s killing — asking the Centre, Delhi government and police to work on a legislation to prevent hate crimes.

“The committee has suggested a framework to the law ministry on the basis of a Delhi High Court order that has said a law should be in place,” a source said.

In the report, which has not been made public, the committee has said that steps should be taken for “a specific law” or “a specific amendment to the IPC” to tackle the immediate problems of the Northeast people. It is the framework for this “specific law” that the panel has suggested, the source revealed.

“A law that has all the ingredients that will protect people from the Northeast but will not mention ‘Northeast’,” the source said.

If the suggestion is accepted, the law ministry will be tasked with drafting the legislation in concurrence with the home ministry. Sources said the home ministry was undecided on how to go about the law.

The committee has said that such a law should address the short-run problems faced by people from the Northeast living in cities, particularly Delhi where such issues are reported to be graver.

Discrimination has also been reported from Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore, a committee member said.

“But that discrimination is not a major problem. (Northeast) people in Pune, for instance, told us that they were invited to Maharashtrian events,” the member said.

Soon after the Tania killing, Delhi High Court had said the government should consider a legislation to prevent hate crimes by amending the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1995, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The court had also observed that no native of any state of India could be allowed to — by harassing, offending and other criminal acts — prevent people from another state from settling and carrying on any business or vocation.