The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Home Ministry to consider changing the existing SC/ST Act or introducing a new law to allow provisions for deterrence against alleged “racial attacks” on people from Northeast states.
A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice R S Endlaw made the observation while taking up various issues related to alleged racial attacks and security of persons from Northeast states in Delhi.
The court had, last week, taken suo motu cognizance of the death of Arunachal student Nido Taniam and sought reports from the government and police on steps taken to tackle the issue of alleged discrimination against persons from Northeast states.
Responding to the court’s suggestion to impose sections of the SC/ST Act or the Protection of Civil Rights Act, Additional Solicitor-General Rajeeve Mehra, representing the Home Ministry, told the court that all communities from Northeast states were not covered under the SC/ST Act and strict provisions of the law could not be applied if such people were attacked. “Can you expand the scope? Or get some legislation for deterrence against such attacks?” the court said.
The High Court also asked police whether there was any possibility of a “conspiracy”. “Day by day, there are attacks on a particular section of society. Have you looked into whether this is a deep-rooted conspiracy?” the court said. Police, however, ruled out any pattern so far.
The court also directed police to set up a helpline for people from Northeast states within six weeks after it heard that they faced a “language problem” while placing PCR calls.
Special police unit
Police on Tuesday informed the High Court that a Special Police unit had been constituted to deal with issues relating to persons from Northeast states, and Delhi Police had sent a request to Home Ministry and to eight Northeast states to send personnel from their states on deputation to the Delhi Police. “We are not looking for IPS officers but executive serving officers from these states.
We are waiting for a response,” ASG Sidharth Luthra told the court.