The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and all states on a PIL seeking its direction to them to frame guideline to protect the people from north eastern states in various parts of the country against alleged racial discrimination.
A bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi sought response from the authorities within four weeks on the issue.
The apex court initially expressed reluctance to entertain the plea on the ground that the Delhi High Court is hearing a similar petition but it agreed to examine the issue after the petitioners pleaded that racial discrimination is prevalent across the country and the matter can be addressed by the highest court.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the proceedings in the high court were confined to the national capital and appealed to the apex court to examine the issue.
The petition filed by seven advocates, some of them belonging to north east, highlighted the recent attacks on north eastern people, including the death of Arunachal Pradesh youth Nido Tania who was beaten by shopkeepers in south Delhi.
They submitted that there was no system in place by the Ministry of Home Affairs to protect these people. The petition alleged the people from north eastern region of the country, who move out of their states in search of better opportunities for studies and jobs, were subjected to racial taunts and violence on a daily basis due to their physical appearance at the hands of people of their own country.
“Most of the people from the region, who return to their states, have one or two tales of horrid, unspeakable and unimaginable proportions where they have been discriminated, taunted, molested, raped….and all because of their outward appearances,” it said.
The petition said the crime of racial discrimination is a “menace to the society” and violates the human rights of every person irrespective of his caste, creed, religion, domicile and the right to live with human dignity.
The PIL urged the court to ensure that the culprits of such racial discrimination are punished and to lay down guidelines to protect citizens against it.
Some of the recent incidents that led to the filing of this petition included molestation and beating of two Manipuri girls allegedly by five men, it said.
In January, two Manipuri girls were allegedly beaten up and molested by five men who had also hurled racist abuses at them in Kotla Mubarakpur area. The five men have been arrested and are in judicial custody.
The incident, which had occurred on January 25 evening, came to light following an uproar over Nido’s death on January 29.
In another case, a minor girl from Manipur was allegedly raped by the son of her landlord in Munirka here on February 8 and the accused has been arrested.
A day after, on February 9, two youths from Manipur were beaten up after when resented some racial remarks hurled at them by a group of motorbike riders who then attacked them in south Delhi’s Ambedkar Nagar.
The list of incidents against people from the north east includes a case in which a 24-year-old youth from Manipur was stabbed and robbed here on February 11 after he resisted the robbery bid of the assailants who had snatched his cell phone. He was attacked in Saket area of south Delhi while he was returning from work at around 3 AM.