New Delhi, July 26: The M.P. Bezbaruah committee, that had sought a debate on an anti-racism legislation, has also asked the Centre to draft a law specifically to prevent discrimination against people from the Northeast living outside the region.
Citing the Delhi high court judgment in the wake of the killing of Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh in January this year, the committee has “suggested a framework to the law ministry that has said a law should be in place,” a source said today.
The committee had suggested that for the immediate problems of the Northeast’s people, the steps enumerated “for a specific law” or “specific amendment to the IPC” should be taken up.
The “specific law” is one that targets provisions for people from the Northeast.
While activists have been demanding an anti-racial discrimination law, the government is wary of the consequences of such a law.
The committee said a new anti-racism law would have wide-ranging implications and the issue needs a political discourse.
“It may even impact internal dynamics of the Northeast itself,” said the source.
However, a separate law that could provide protection specifically to people from the Northeast was suggested.
“A law that has all ingredients will protect people from Northeast but not mention ‘Northeast’,” the source said. It would be up to the law ministry to draft such a law in concurrence with the home ministry.
The committee has said such a law could take care of the immediate problems that are faced by people from the region living in cities, particularly in New Delhi.
Delivering a judgment following the Tania incident in Lajpat Nagar market, the then Delhi high court Chief Justice N.V. Ramana had asked the Centre, the Delhi government and the police to work on a new law to prevent hate crimes.
The bench, comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, had also made the northeastern states a party to the suo moto proceedings by Justice Ramana.
The high court had observed that no native of any state of India could be allowed to, by harassing, offending and by other criminal acts, prevent people from another state to settle and carry on any business or vocation.
The court had rued that “it is unfortunate that a small cross-section of society is attempting to put up barriers within the country.”
The bench had said the government and the Centre should consider a legislation for preventing such hate crimes by amending the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1995 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The Union home ministry had constituted a committee led by Bezbaruah to look into measures to prevent discrimination particularly against young people from the Northeast living in metros.
The committee submitted its report to minister of state for home, Kiren Rijiju last month.
Problems for young people from the region are more grave in the national capital than elsewhere.
A member of the committee said discrimination was reported from Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore as well.
“But that discrimination is not a major problem. People in Pune, for instance, told us that they were invited to Maharashtrian events and vice- versa,” the member said.
Members said steps already being taken by communities in places like Pune and Bangalore should be encouraged with help of district administration in New Delhi also.