Three lawyers moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking a directive to the Centre to take steps to ensure the safety of students and others from the Northeast who come to the capital for education and employment.

Ranbir Yadav, Baban Kumar Sharma and Abhishek Garg, in their petition, said the death of a student from Arunachal Pradesh, Nido Tania, in a racist attack in Delhi was due to inaction of the police and other authorities. Days before his death, two women from the Northeast were attacked, but the police failed to take action.

The petitioners said the growing uncontrolled racism and discrimination against Northeast students had not only threatened their lives, limbs and liberty but also created genuine apprehension in their minds that their lives would not be protected in other parts of the country.

“If those who migrated to various parts of the country from the Northeast for education and employment are not provided protection and are treated in a derogatory manner, it would mean that the Centre had failed to discharge its constitutional obligation,” the petitioners said.

They pointed out that the inhabitants of the Northeast had always remained vulnerable to indignities, harassment, humiliation and discrimination on account of their physical features. In some cases, they were sexually exploited.

“No harmony”

They said the Centre had failed to promote harmony among all the people of India, transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities, to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of citizens from the Northeast.

“Although most Indians would decry any racism abroad, a large community of people from the Northeast say bias against them is growing amid fresh concerns over safety,” they said.

“The total number of migrants from the Northeast to various parts of India increased from four lakh in 1981 to six lakh in 1991 and 11 lakh in 2001. Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have become major destinations for migration.”

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