A committee to look at issues concerning security of people from the Northeast in Indian cities has suggested creating a database to track people from the region and asked for strict regulation of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It has also suggested setting up an exclusive Northeast Centre for legal and counselling services.
The M P Bezbaruah committee was set up in the aftermath of the killing in Delhi of a 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh, Nido Tania. Business Standard has reviewed the 78-page report that was submitted last week to the Union minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju.
The report asked the Centre for a specific law or amendment to the Indian Penal Code but did not offer a road map to prevent violence against people from Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya in other parts of the country. It called for sensitisation of armed personnel and a comprehensive booklet detailing all government orders and instructions to redress the problem. "Every police station must have a copy of it readily available," it said.
"The media should be careful while covering race-related cases in order to prevent escalation of tension leading to an increase in such incidents. Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube should be watched, edited and strictly regulated and posting of provocative statements and pictures should not be allowed," it added.
Tania, son of a Congress MLA from Arunachal Pradesh, died following an altercation with shopkeepers in Delhi's Lajpat Nagar on January 29. There were allegations of Tania being beaten up. The case was referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Bezbaruah committee was set up in February to suggest measures to prevent discrimination against people from the northeast in India's metros.
The committee suggested setting up an autonomous northeast Centre in New Delhi. This is apart from the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region and the northeast division in the Union Home Ministry. "The Centre should have links to the database for 24X7 assistance to people from the northeast in distress. This facility should be linked to the northeast police cell as well as to the state bhawans and prominent NGOs that are scrutinised and approved by the Centre," the report said.
"It should have a continuous orientation programme for new arrivals, on life in the metro cities…it should be the first point of contact for legal advice and should have a professional trauma care facility and counselling for those who are in distress. The Centre should also provide facilities for voluntary registration of people and create a basic profile."
Officials in the Union government said many of the recommendations of the committee had already been implemented. "The rest will be discussed at length before a decision is taken," said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.
MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS BY BEZBARUAH COMMITTEE
- Creation of central database of Northeastern people in metros and its linkage to relevant departments, NGOs
- Setting up a Northeast centre in Delhi
- No need to visit police station once a witness records statement before a magistrate
- Education and sensitisation of people before they arrive in metros
- Two-way interaction between people from Northeast and local communities
- Cultural exchange programmes for students in schools and colleges
- Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University urged to open campuses in Northeast
- One major festival of Northeast should be organised in Delhi and other metros every year
- Bollywood and TV to be encouraged to look at Northeast
- Buildings, institutions to be named after Northeast landmarks like rivers, hills, tribes ,icons etc