Rejecting the contention that students from the northeast are subjected to discrimination and racial profiling,Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said today that the government would take every step to ensure their security and asked states to do the same.
“The government will take every step to ensure their security and I am confident that all state governments will discharge their constitutional responsibilities to ensure the safety and security of all people residing within that state,” Chidambaram said in Rajya Sabha.
He was responding to a calling attention notice by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley in the wake of the recent deaths of two students from the northeast,one in Gurgaon,the other in Bengaluru.
Jaitley said,”I call the attention of the Home Minister towards issues of racial profiling and discrimination towards students of the northeast,who go to different parts.”
Replying to it,Chidambaram said the state governments were primarily responsible for the prevention of crimes arising out of discrimination. He added the Centre accorded the “highest importance to the development of the northeastern region as well as prevention of atrocities against Schedule Tribe”. He said the government would not countenance discrimination in any form.
Referring to the recent deaths of Dana Sangma in Gurgaon near Delhi and of Richard Loitum in Bengaluru besides allegations of racial profiling against Tibetans during the recent BRICS summit,he said these have caused disquiet and agitation among the community,specially among students from the region.
He said the police were investigating the deaths of both Sangma and Loitam after registering cases and conducting post mortems.
Stressing that students from the region have the right to security and peace and they are “free to travel and reside in any part of the country,” Chidambaram said it was not correct that students from the northeastern states in Delhi were more vulnerable as compared to students from other regions.
“In 2010,8 cases of offences against women from the northeastern states were registered and,in 2011,seven such cases were reported. All cases were investigated and further proceedings are underway,” he said.
Admitting that during BRICS summit on March 29,the Delhi Police did detain some Tibetans and their supporters as there was an apprehension that Tibetan groups would disrupt the summit,Chidambaram stressed that the police have “categorically stated there was no racial profiling.”
“During the checking process some Indians,including a few from the northeastern states were also detained for a short while and let off as soon as their identities were confirmed,” he said.
He said while the exact number of students from the northeast was not available,many of them stay in metropolitan cities like Delhi,Mumbai,Kolkata and Pune to take advantage of the vast opportunities available in other parts of the country and “it is their right to do so”.
Elaborating steps to address problems faced by students from the northeast,Chidambaram said DCP-level officers have been designated as nodal officers to specifically address their problems.
“Besides,a northeast connect cell,headed by a joint secretary-level officer has been formed… to serve as a coordination point with resident commissioners of eight northeastern states,” he added.