Taking note of a 2009 research by Northeast Support Centre (NESC), the Bezbaruah Committee, which submitted its report to the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, said over 86 per cent of people from the Northeast had faced racial discrimination in various metros in the country.
Highlighting the basic concerns of people from the Northeast, the report said a sense of insecurity and vulnerability was the topmost issue. “Even if they try to adjust to the new atmosphere, their Mongolian features and complexion makes them look distinct in public places. Even their easy going, friendly outlook is misunderstood,” the report reads.
The report also notes that most people from the Northeast preferred to settle down in urban villages due to availability of affordable accommodation. However, residents in such areas are “strongly rooted in conservative traditions” and find the dressing of youngsters from the Northeast and their “modern” behaviour in conflict with their notion of social behaviour.
The committee has also taken note of a study — “Discrimination and Challenges before Women from Northeast” — by Jamia Milia Islamia university and concluded that about two-third of women surveyed frequently faced discrimination. “A very large number of people that the committee interacted with, have reported that verbal abuse because of their appearance was a common experience,” the report reads.
The report further lists discrimination and apathy of law enforcement agencies, particularly local police, as pertinent issues.
Allana Golmei, founding member of NESC, who assisted the committee, told Newsline that the most critical issue was the attitude of the police and judiciary towards people from the Northeast.
Citing the May 2013 death of a 23-year-old Manipuri woman, Golmei said, “The first statement police released after her death said the girl used to work in a spa and had a boyfriend. However, weeks before, the girl had complained that her landlord’s relative had been stalking her. But this was not looked into. An FIR was registered after human rights and students’ groups protested. Unfortunately, in such circumstances, the hospital toes the police line. They… claimed the girl was habituated to sexual intercourse. If this is not stereotyping, then what is?”