NEW DELHI, May 4 (Agencies): Rejecting the contention that students from North East are subjected to discrimination and racial profiling, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said the government will take every step to ensure their security and asked states to do the same.
“The government of India 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 deaths of two students from North East in Gurgaon, Haryana and Bengaluru.
Jaitley said, “I call the attention of the Home Minister towards issues of racial profiling and discrimination towards students of North East, who go to different parts.”
The BJP leader further said, “They also have a right to live free from any form of discrimination from any form of racial profiling. We need to assure all students and other citizens who have come from the North-East either in search of education or in search of jobs in this part of the country that their safety and security is going to be maintained.”
Stressing on the need to sensitize the rest of the Indian society Jaitley said, “When students from J & K and the North-Eastern States come and study here, or people come and work here, I think, it is extremely important for a larger national goal that their integration with the Indian society is further strengthened by virtue of the attitude of the society has for them.”
Replying to it, Chidambaram said the state governments were primarily responsible for the prevention of crimes arising out of discrimination, adding, the Centre accorded “highest importance to development of North Eastern region as well as prevention of atrocities against Schedule Tribes and will not countenance discrimination in any form.”
Referring to the recent death of Dana Sangma in Gurgaon near Delhi and of Richard Loitam 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 students from the region.
He said the police is investigating the deaths of both Sangma and Loitam after registering cases and conducting post mortems.
Stressing that students from the region have 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 the students from the North Eastern states in Delhi were more vulnerable as compared to students from other regions.
“In 2010, 8 cases of offences against women from the North Eastern state were registered and, in 2011, 7 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 the Tibetan groups would disrupt the summit, Chidambaram stressed that the police have “categorically stated that there was no racial profiling.”
“During the checking process some Indians, including a few from the North-Eastern 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 students from North East was not available a number of them resided 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 the steps to address the problems faced by students from North East, Chidambaram said DCP-level officers have designated as nodal officers to specifically address their problems.
“Besides, a North East Connect Cell, headed by a joint secretary-level officer has been formed…to serve as a coordination point with Resident Commissioners of 8 North Eastern States,” he added.