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Racial remarks against N-E people to be made punishable

‘Centre will implement proposals of Bezbaruah committee’

Violence, racial remarks and gestures against people from the northeast are likely to be made punishable offences. The government move is in accordance with the M.P. Bezbaruah Committee report on discrimination against the people of the northeast.

It was set up following the murder of a 19-year-old from Arunachal Pradesh, Nido Tania, in South Delhi about a year ago.

“The proposal for insertion of Section 153-C [cognisable and non-bailable] and Section 509-A [cognisable and bailable] in the Indian Penal Code is under consideration,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.

The proposed Section 153-C makes acts causing or likely to cause fear or feeling of insecurity among the community punishable with up to five years’ imprisonment. It also makes offences of such attempts, promotion or participation in violence on grounds of racial features, behaviour, culture or way of living.

The proposed Section 509-A provides up to three years’ imprisonment for words, gesture or act intended to insult a member of any race.

Denying that the proposal was in view of the upcoming Delhi election, the Home Minister said the immediate steps as recommended by the committee had been taken within the six-month deadline. “The long-term initiatives will also be enforced within the stipulated time,” he said.

The committee had submitted its report in July.

While a panel of seven lawyers, including five women, has been constituted for legal assistance, trial in cases of violence against the community members would be fast-tracked. “The Delhi police will recruit 20 police personnel [10 male and 10 female] from each of the northeast States,” he said.

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