Denies discrimination and racial profiling of the community, anywhere in the country

Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday gave an assurance to Rajya Sabha members on the safety and security of students from the northeast, saying he would write to the State governments to ensure “zero tolerance” of crimes against people from that region. He denied any discrimination and racial profiling of the students in any part of the country.

“I wish to state categorically that any citizen belonging to the north-eastern States is free to travel and reside in any part of the country. Governments are obliged to ensure their safety and 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,” he said.

Mr. Chidambaram was responding to a calling attention notice by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley in the wake of deaths of two students from the northeast in Gurgaon and Bengaluru.

Mr. Jaitley said, “I call the attention of Home Minister towards issues of racial profiling and discrimination against students of northeast, who go to different parts [of the country].”

Rejecting the contention, Mr. Chidambaram said the State governments were primarily responsible for the prevention of crimes arising out of discrimination. The Centre accorded highest importance to the development of the north-eastern region as well as prevention of atrocities against Schedule Tribes.

In a statement, he referred to the recent death of Dana Sangma in Gurgaon and Richard Loitum in Bengaluru besides allegations of racial profiling against Tibetans during the recent BRICS summit on March 29. These had caused “disquiet” and agitation among the north-eastern community, especially among students from the region.

The police, he said, were investigating the two cases, while categorically reporting that there was no racial profiling of any students during the recent BRICS summit. Following apprehensions that Tibetan groups might disrupt the summit, the Delhi Police detained some Tibetans and their supporters, including four people from the northeast region, but let them off after establishing their identity. “No one was charge-sheeted,” he said.

BJP's objection

This was strongly objected to by some BJP members. They said the number was under-stated and the Minister was “factually incorrect.”

At this, Mr. Chidambaram said he was only stating the facts based on record and if they were found to be incorrect, action would be taken.