New Delhi, July 11: The NDA government at the Centre is considering amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in keeping with the findings of a committee constituted by the previous UPA government following the lynching of a student from Arunachal Pradesh in Delhi this year.
The committee, headed by North Eastern Council member M.P. Bezbaruah, submitted its report today with wide-ranging recommendations, including legislative measures and special police cells for safety of northeasterners, especially women.
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, who also belongs to Arunachal Pradesh, today said the report “will be processed on priority”.
An outrage among young people from the Northeast after the death of Arunachali student Nido Tania had forced the Union home ministry to constitute the committee in February. Tania was beaten up at Lajpat Nagar market on January 29 and had died in the wee hours the next day. Student associations and activists had termed his death the result of racial bias.
The protests had prompted then BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to speak out on Tania’s death. Later, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal had met protesters at Jantar Mantar. One of the major demands of the protesters was an anti-racism legislation to prevent discrimination against people from the Northeast.
The committee’s terms of reference were to examine the causes behind attacks on and discrimination against people from the region and to suggest remedial measures, including legal remedies, to address the concerns of people from the Northeast living in different parts of the country, especially metros.
The committee travelled to metros like Mumbai and Chennai and held deliberations with various stakeholders, including police and the media, before putting together its findings. The joint commissioner of police, Delhi, Robin Hibu, from Arunachal, was also a member of the team constituted to assist the committee. “The government will consider amendments in suitable sections of the IPC, particularly Section 153A,” a government source said today.
The provision relates to the crime of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence or language.
Some BJP leaders had also suggested this legislative measure when protesters had met them after Tania’s death.
Recently, Tania’s mother Nido Marina had met Rijiju and requested him to erect a statue of Nido as part of an anti-discrimination drive. “I have not received any response after the last letter a month ago,” she said. She had also suggested that January 30 be declared anti-racism day. The date — Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary — is now observed as Martyrs Day.
Marina said she would speak on her expectations from the government only after going through the report.