New Delhi, Sep 2 : Though the government has repeatedly said that people from the northeast living in Delhi are safe and that there is no specific targeting of people from the region, government data paints a different picture.
According to the home ministry, in the past three years, crimes in which people from the northeastern states are victims have gone up by 270%.
The data gives credence to observations by the government-appointed M P Bezbaruah committee that people from the northeastern states are racially discriminated against in Delhi. The 11-member committee, formed after the fatal attack on Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania earlier this year, recently submitted its report to the government where it held that 86% of northeasterners living in Delhi had faced some sort of racial discrimination.
Between 2005 and 2013, close to two lakh people from the northeaster migrated to the Capital.
The home ministry data shows that crimes against people from the northeast states increased from 27 in 2011 to 73 in 2013. The crimes that witnessed the highest increase were on expected lines: molestation, rape and hurt. While molestation increased by 177% in the period, rape cases increased from one in 2011 to 17 in 2013.
Although the government claims that it has taken a series of steps to ensure safety of persons from northeastern states in Delhi, in a statement in Lok Sabha — minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju maintained that "it is not a fact people from north-eastern states are being ill-treated in different states of India including Delhi" and that attacks against them were "random" — the Bezbaruah committee has held otherwise.
It said in its report that people from the northeastern states faced more problems in Delhi than in other metros such as Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. It also said that over two-thirds of women from northeast states had reported that they faced harassment in Delhi.
The government says a series of steps — which include regular police patrolling of colonies where people from northeastern states live as well as race and gender sensitization programmes — have been taken following the death of Tania to ensure the safety of people from the region in Delhi. They will hopefully bear fruit.