Bezbaruah report on North East community: Five key recommendations

More than a month after the 11-member committee headed by retired IAS officer M P Bezbaruah submitted its report on the discrimination against racial attacks on members the North East community, the Centre continues to remain silent on its key findings.The committee was set up following the shocking attack and murder of 19-year-old Nido Tania at a South Delhi market in January.

Details of the report have now emerged after the home ministry was asked to submit a copy of the report to the Delhi High Court. The report was submitted on Wednesday. The Delhi High Court has now given the Centre time till September 10 to submit a report on what action it has taken since the report was submitted.

The 82-page report paints a grim picture of the nature and extent of discrimination and attacks against the North East community. It provides a comprehensive list of short-term and long-term measures that must be taken by the government to counter discrimination against the community.

 Bezbaruah report on North East community: Five key recommendations

Nido Tania. PTI

The report estimates that over two lakh people from the North East have migrated to Delhi between 2005 and 2013 and that about 86 percent of them have faced discrimination. It also finds that Delhi is the worst offender among the metro cities when it comes to racial discrimination against people from the North East.

Here are five key recommendations made by the Bezbaruah Committee on tackling discrimination against the community:

New law against discrimination: Either a new law should be promulgated as directed by the High Court of Delhi or the Indian Penal Code should be amended. The offence should be cognizable and non-bailable. The investigation of the FIR should be completed in 60 days by a special squad and investigated by a police officer not below the rank of deputy SP or ACP. A special prosecutor should be appointed to handle all such cases of atrocities. And the trial should be completed in 90 days.

Fast-track courts and special police squads: The Committee strongly suggests the creation of fast-track courts for handling the cases relating to the North East people, particularly those which are racially motivated and involving heinous crimes against the North East women and children. Specially designated public prosecutors should be appointed for cases involving people from the North East. They should also be properly trained and sensitised.

The committee feels that the creation of a special squad supervised by the North East Special Police Unit would go a long way in ensuring speedy justice in criminal cases. The squad could be manned by people specially selected for such purposes and they could be specially trained and sensitised about the problems of people from the North East.

Interventions in Education: Suitable innovative ways should be devised to integrate each and every aspect of the North East into the consciousness of people outside. The Committee recommends that when the next the NCERT takes place, one, all teacher training institutes be advised to make their syllabus in a way that can sensitise their trainees on the North East and, two, universities and schools outside the North East make projects on North East a mandatory part of the course curricula.

Large migration of students for Higher Education in Delhi and other metros has been a prominent feature in recent times. One reason for such exodus is the absence of institutions of excellence in the North East. A detailed socio-economic study of the nature of student migration from the North East would be worthwhile as it will provide valuable insight for planning of higher education in the region.

Social media outreach and legal awareness campaigns: The committee recommends legal awareness campaigns in neighbourhoods that have a significant presence of members from the North East community and on introducing lectures on legal rights for university students. It underlines the role of social media in improving connectivity and communication with the community. A dedicated Facebook page should be created and nodal police officers should be in constant touch with members of the community on WhatsApp.

Bonding power of sports: The committee recommends that the Ministry should take steps to hold regular national and international events in the North East as such events will create greater harmony and better understanding. The ministry should, therefore, review the status of present facilities and make an assessment if they are suitable for such events. If not, such facilities should be created in every state of the North East. Indigenous games of the North East should be promoted.

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Updated Date: Aug 23, 2014 18:52:08 IST