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MHA to make racism against people from Northeast a punishable offence

Ahead of Delhi Assembly polls, ministry to implement Bezbaruah committee recommendations

The Home Ministry is in the process of making “derogatory and racist remarks against people from Northeast part of the country” a punishable offence, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.

Ahead of Assembly polls in Delhi, which has about 23 lakh people from the Northeast, Singh announced that fast-track courts will also be set up in the Capital for speedy trial of such cases. He also said plans are afoot to incorporate history of the Northeast in NCERT textbooks to make children more aware.

A bill may be introduced to amend the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2014 for safety and security of people of the Northeast, he said.

“We are examining the proposal and may add two provisions in the Indian Penal Code by amending the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2014,” he said. The Bezbaruah committee, in its report, has noted that the “most common demand” from people from Northeast was to make derogatory remarks such as “Momos, Chinkis and Chinese” or others related to race, culture, identity or physical appearances punishable by law.

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It recommended a provision in Section 153 of IPC, and insertion of a clause in Section 509 of the IPC to provide a maximum of five-year imprisonment and a fine as punishment for racism.

The committee was set up following the killing of Nido Taniam, a youth from Arunachal Pradesh, in January last year.

Singh said, “Amendment of IPC is under consideration for insertion of new Section 153C and 509A as recommended by the committee.”

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A Home Ministry official said that the Law Ministry has given its consent for insertion of the two clauses in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2014.
A special legal service authority has been constituted to help people from the region facing problems in Delhi, he said. He said 20 people will be recruited from each of the eight Northeastern states in the Delhi Police as part of the familiarisation exercise for the Capital’s police force.

First published on: 03-01-2015 at 02:29 IST
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