Racial slurs against northeast people to land one in jail

New Delhi: Racial slurs against the people of India's northeast will soon be a criminal offence as the central government plans to insert new sections in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Announcing that the government has accepted the recommendations of the Bezbaruah Committee, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in the capital that new sections, 153C and 509A, will be added to the IPC.

"The Indian Penal Code will be amended for insertion of new sections of 153C and 509A as recommended by the committee," the home minister said Friday, adding that the law ministry has agreed to it.

"The government is committed (to the) safety and security of the people from the northeast region living in Delhi and other metropolitan cities," he said.

The committee headed by M.P. Bezbaruah, a member of the North Eastern Council, was set up in February 2014 after 19-year-old Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, died here after he was thrashed by local shopkeepers.

The panel was formed to look into the concerns of the people of the northeast living in other parts of the country and suggest suitable remedial measures.

"As part of legal assistance, a panel of seven lawyers, including five women lawyers, has been constituted by the Delhi State Legal Service Authority for providing legal assistance to the needy people from the northeast," he said.

Rajnath Singh said the Delhi government would also provide monetary assistance to the victims of any violence in the city.

"The Delhi government will also be providing compensation and monetary assistance to the northeast people under Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme 2011."

"Recommendations made by the committee regarding special police initiatives and additional steps to be taken by various state police forces and Delhi Police have been accepted for immediate implementation," the minister said.

Over two lakh people of eight northeastern states are living in Delhi.

A development of northeastern region ministry official said 86 percent of the people from northeast living in Delhi have faced some sort of racial discrimination.

According to reports, many citizens from the northeast have complained that they have been stereotyped by such characterisations as 'Chinky', 'Hakka', 'Nepali', 'Chinese' and 'Chow Mein' by the people in metro cities with reference to their facial features.

In 2007, the North East Support Centre and Helpline was started with the determined object of increasing awareness of prejudices and attacks against people from the northeast.

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