Rahul Gandhi on Thursday held consultations with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and MPs from the North-east to discuss steps to end harassment of people from the region even as the government set up a committee to suggest remedial measures to address their concerns.
AICC general secretary in-charge for North-eastern states Luizinho Faleiro, who led the delegation to Gandhi, said the Congress Vice President wanted not only to ensure justice in the case of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania but also address the issue of discrimination of people from the Northeast.
The meeting comes after the outrage over the death of 19-year-old Tania after being allegedly beaten by some shopkeepers in Lajpat Nagar here.
Mr. Faleiro said the Ministry of Home Affairs has set up of a six-member committee headed by retired IAS officer M.B. Bezbaruah, which will submit a report within two months after examining the causes behind the attacks/violence and discrimination against the people from the Nort-east.
The committee headed by Mr. Bezabaruah, who is also a member of North-eastern Council, has the Deputy Secretary in Ministry of Home Affairs S. Saha as Member Secretary and retired IAS officers H.W.T. Syeim, Allen Temshi Jamir, Tape Bagra and P. Bharat Singh as members.
Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police, Robin Hibu, who hails from that region, will also be in the team of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which will assist the committee.
The Chairman of the Committee shall co-opt members, one each from the other North-eastern states like Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim as well as one lay member.
“It has been decided to constitute a Committee to look into various kinds of concerns of the persons hailing from the North-east, who are living in different parts of the country, especially metropolitan areas, and suggest suitable remedial measures, which could be taken by the government,” an order issued on Wednesday by Deputy Secretary of MHA’s Northeast Division, Ajay Kanoujia said.
There are five Terms of Reference (ToR) under which the committee has been set up to examine various kinds of concerns, including those regarding security of the persons hailing from the North-eastern states.
The panel will examine the causes behind attacks, violence and discrimination against people from the North-east, suggest measures to be taken by the government to address these concerns besides suggesting legal remedies for the same.
The committee, which will be provided secretariat assistance and facilities by the Ministry of Home Affairs, will submit its report within two months.
Mr. Faleiro said the committee Chairman has been given additional powers to co-opt members from the NGOs and students from the NE region.
He said the Committee has a wide mandate and it has not only to study the problems but suggest remedial measures so that the civil rights of the North-eastern people are not compromised with. He said Mr. Gandhi was not only keen for measures to solve the Tania case but also the “hostile discrimination” against the people of North-eastern region, which is happening in Delhi and other states.
“We discussed with Gandhi how to ensure that such incidents do not happen again and there must be some deterrent action so that innocent persons do not face brutal inhuman attacks,” he said.
The AICC leader said that there is also a thought in the party that there should be some mechanism for cooperation among various Bhavans (State Houses) through the Resident Commissioners of these states.
“We have already got a helpline in Delhi but there should be coordination between the Home Ministry and these Bhavans so that high level police officials also cooperate. They must maintain a register of names, numbers and addresses of North-eastern students so that there is no delay. This is just a thought,” Mr. Faleiro said, adding such an arrangement will help timely action in stopping harassment of North-eastern people.