One-way, one-stop office for northeasterners suggested
An IPS officer belonging to the northeast in every city with a sizable population from the region, a one-stop office for redressing complaints and setting up forums and special squads to investigate hate crimes against them are among the 60 recommendations made by the Bezbaruah Committee that recently submitted its report to the government.
The 15-member committee, formed after the murder of Arunachal Pradesh youth Nido Tania in February to suggest remedial measures following a rise in number of crimes against people from the northeastern states across the country, also suggested that the Development of Northeast Region (DONER) minister, Gen. V.K. Singh, a former Indian Army chief, should acquire "detailed knowledge" of the northeast and should visit there every month to get a "proper idea of the happenings".
The minister should be "very sensitive" to the issues related to the northeast, the report, which was submitted to Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju July 11, states.
The report, a copy of which was seen by IANS, recommends that a "Northeast Trade Union" be formed in every city with a sizable population from the region to focus on various issues relating to employees from the northeast, including non-payment of wages, and also assist them in pursuing alternate career options apart from those in the hospitality sector.
"The trade union would also look into cases of harassment of girls from the region in their offices," a committee member told IANS on condition of anonymity, adding that IPS officers from the region could serve as a "calming influence".
The member added that the report also suggested that the central government set up a "one-way one-stop office" in major cities to "help" people from the northeast "with information about the city or getting rented accommodation and the like or even political help from the MPs of their respective states".
Another member, who also did not wish to be named, said a Northeast Forum has also been suggested to draw up a database of information pertaining to people from the region - and serve as the face of these people.
The 15-member committee has also emphasised on the enactment of the much-debated "anti-racial" law to stop hate crimes, not just against people from the northeast but also from other states.
"We have suggested a road map for this. In the alternative, we have suggested in the existing section 153 (A) of the IPC (that deals with hate crimes)," said the member, adding that fast track courts had been suggested to deal with crimes against northeastern people.
The report has also recommended CCTV cameras in areas with a concentration of people from the northeast.
According to the committee's report, Pune in Maharastra was the safest for those from the northeast, while in the last six months the national capital has witnessed "some of the most brutal crime incidents against people from northeast".
More than 200,000 people, of whom around 50 percent are females, from the northeastern states are living in the capital, as per the North East Support Centre and Helpline (NESCH).
Another member said that to usher in "ideological changes" among the people, all central universities should be directed to start a foundation course on the geography and demography of the northeast region with weightage at par with other subjects.
Also suggested are northeast study centres and student exchange programmes between the central and the state varsities and those in the northeast.
"Since our recommendations have been formulated after much analysis, we have very high expectations from the government in terms of its implementation," the member told IANS, adding that this will "definitely help bring down cases of crime against the northeastern people."
Making life easier for northeasterners
* Recruitment of northeastern youth in the police forces of other Indian cities.
* Equal number of hostels for both the boys and girls from the northeast region.
* Initially, Delhi's civic bodies to publish calendars highlighting festivals of the northeastern states.
* Body for allocating funds to those from the northeast during crisis situations.
* Northeast helpline number - 1093 - to be extended across the country.
* Enabling teachers from the northeast and other states better understand each other's environment.
(Rupesh Dutta can be contacted at Rupesh.firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 31-07-2014)