The Telegraph
Monday , April 21 , 2014
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Manipuris in Pune seek protection

- Memorandum submitted to deputy CM

Imphal, April 20: Manipuris staying in Pune urged the Manipur government and the Centre to take immediate steps to end “racial discrimination” of professionals and students from the Northeast staying in various cities of the country.

The Association of Manipuri Diaspora, Pune, submitted a memorandum to deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, who is also the home minister, listing a charter of demands.

It is an association of Manipuri students and professionals working in government and private sectors in Pune.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the deputy chief minister. We have waited for the end of the polling process in the Outer and Inner Manipur parliamentary constituencies and submitted the memorandum yesterday,” Thounaojam Bonbihari, a spokesman for the association, said here today.

Bonbihari is a manager in an IT company based in Pune.

The association has 40 lifetime members and several Manipuris, including students, in Pune are members.

There is a sizeable Manipuri population in Pune, of which many are settled with their families, Bonbihari said.

“Though physical attacks do not happen frequently, there are frequent cases of racial labelling, like making false charges of drug abuse and prostitution on the people from the Northeast in other cities of the country,” he said.

Bonbihari, who is currently on vacation, is staying at his Imphal home.

Similar representations were submitted to governor V.K. Duggal and chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh last month.

The memorandum urged the Manipur government, the Centre and national and state women’s commissions to take immediate steps in consultation with the governments of other states, where Northeast students and professionals stay in large numbers, to end racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

The association demanded public education campaign by the Manipur government in major cities on the cultural diversity, inter-racial diversity and ethnic issues through mass media, people-to-people dialogues or other effective means like cultural exchange programmes.

Bonbihari said the state art and culture department sent a cultural troupe to Pune in February this year for a programme, which was hosted by the association there.

The audience appreciated the programme and learned about Manipur and its culture, he said.

The association also demanded construction of hostels for Manipuri students and professionals at all the major cities and opening of liaison cell-cum-Manipur Bhavans at select cities.

These cells should be headed by senior state officers to strengthen security, protection and promotion of safety of students, professionals and job-seekers coming from the Northeast, the association said.