New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Thursday put forth some pointed questions to Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde about the 'delay' in police action relating to the death of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Taniam after being allegedly beaten by some shopkeepers in Lajpat Nagar.
Shinde was called Thursday morning to a meeting Gandhi held with MPs from North East at his residence in the backdrop of outrage over the death of 19-year-old Taniam.
At the meeting, the MPs also made a strong pitch for an anti-racism law in the country as they complained that students and residents from North Eastern states have to frequently face racial slurs and discrimination not only in the national capital but in other states of the country as well.
Agreeing with the complaints of the MPs about racial discrimination with North Eastern people, Gandhi also talked about discrimination with people from other states as well in some places and appeared to favour a strong framework to prevent such things, sources said.
Gandhi wanted to know how the police acted in the matter and Shinde made a detailed briefing about the circumstances surrounding the "delay" in police action in registering the FIR and arresting the persons in connection with the incident, the sources said.
In the meeting, Shinde is learnt to have explained to Gandhi that the locational differences of places under which the scuffle took place, the boy stayed at night and he was admitted in the hospital fell under the jurisdiction of different police stations and that took some time, the sources said.
As Gandhi sought the views of the MPs to take corrective measures, they complained the police are many times not sensitive to complaints of NE people about racial harassment and demanded more teeth to existing 24x7 helpline for North Eastern people.
They said the helpline should be given more manpower and officers so that they can directy contact the Bhavans (State Government Houses) of North Eastern states.
Gandhi said the 'hostile discrimination' and violence against people from the North East, especially women, is unacceptable and the government must take stringent measures to ensure that police and administration take quick action against those who are responsible, a statement from the Congress Vice President's office said.
He also called for fast tracking of investigations into the death of Taniam and the assault on two women from Manipur that took place a few days ago, it said.
Next: MPs from Northeast meet PM, seek steps to stop discrimination
MPs from Northeast meet PM, seek steps to stop discrimination
New Delhi: MPs from the northeast on Thursday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in wake of the outrage over death of a student from Arunachal Pradesh here, an incident which the PM described as condemnable.
"It's deplorable and condemnable," the PMO tweeted as the MPs brought to his notice the killing of Nido Tania and heckling of two Manipuri girls in Delhi recently. "... the Home Ministry has set up a committee to go into these causes in a systematic manner and prevent them," the PMO tweet said.
The prime minister asked them to work closely with Home Ministry's committee on NE affairs, another PMO tweet said as the incident triggered a national outrage and wide-spread condemnation.
Speaking after the meeting, MP from Tripura Khagen Das said Singh condemned the incidents in which people from northeast were targeted and advised them to meet the committee formed to look into the issue.
"We brought to his notice the several incidents like the killing of 19-year-old student Nido Tania and heckling of two Manipuri girls in Delhi," he said. Das said the Singh, who is himself a member of the Northeast Forum of Parliament, has given an assurance that appropriate steps would be taken so that such incidents do not recur.
The MPs said that in the past few years several incidents in Delhi and other areas have occurred in which students of the northeast have been targeted. They said in October 2009, a girl from Nagaland was raped and killed in Delhi while in November 2010, a Manipuri woman was raped.
In April 2010, the niece of Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma was found dead in Gurgaon while in February 2013, 10 Manipuri students were harassed on the Delhi University campus. In May 2013, a Manipuri woman had an unnatural death in Delhi while in August 2013, three northeastern students were heckled, they alleged.
Next: NE students march towards Parliament, demand anti-racism law
NE students march towards Parliament, demand anti-racism law
New Delhi: Scores of Northeast students on Thursday marched towards Parliament and courted arrest demanding an anti-racism law in wake of the death of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania after being allegedly beaten up by some shopkeepers in South Delhi.
The march began from Jantar Mantar and as the students tried to walk towards Parliament, police stopped them at Parliament Street police station after which the protestors courted arrest.
They then demanded that MPs from North East Indian states come to the police station to hear their demands following which Minister of State for Minority Affairs Ninong Ering along with eight MPs from North Eastern states reached the police station.
The protesters initially booed them and raised slogans 'shame on you' and 'resign if you cannot take timely actions'.
MoS Ninong Ering then addressed the students and said, "There is racism in India. I am one of you. I feel your sentiments. We have had several discussions with MPs and ministers over the issue of racism." "We have suggested that representatives from students' union and NGOs should also be a part of the committee which is going to submit its report in two months," he said.
In order to show solidarity with the protesters, seven MPs including Agatha Sangma of Tura, C L Ruala of Mizoram, Thangso Baite and Thokchom Meinya of Manipur, Birendra Prasad Baishya of Assam then joined the protesters during their march back to Jantar Mantar.
Talking to reporters, the demonstrators rejected the six-member committee set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs to examine the causes behind the attacks/violence and discrimination against the people from the Northeast.
"They have not included any observers or civil society members or student leaders who have led this protest so it is mostly retired government servants and we are against the committee," said Binalakshami Nepram, founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network.
Demanding an anti-racial discrimination law in the wake of the death of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania after being allegedly beaten up by some shopkeepers in South Delhi's Lajpat Nagar area, students also pressed for the formation of a high level committee to look into cases of racial discrimination against North East students.
They also demanded creation of a helpline number for complaints related to discrimination along with setting up of hostels for North East students.
19-year-old Taniam, an Arunachal Pradesh MLA's son, died last week after he was allegedly beaten up by some shopkeepers following an altercation sparked by their taunts on his hairstyle.