Northeast citizens faced bias amid pandemic’
14/04/2021

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Context:

  • A study on racial discrimination and hate crimes against people from the northeastern States was conducted by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR).

Highlights:

  • 78% of the people from the region who were interviewed believed that physical appearance was the most important reason for prejudice.
  • Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, people from the region faced an increased number of acts of hate and prejudices against them.
  • A series of attacks were reported in various parts of the country, where people from the region were harassed, abused, traumatised and were disparagingly called coronavirus.
  • The study quoted a 2020 report from the Right and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) that found a significant upsurge in acts of racial discrimination against people from the northeastern region.
  • The risk of being victimised in racial hatred remains subtle yet deeply entrenched.

Safeguarding the vulnerable migrants:

  • In 2014, the Government of India set up the Bezbaruah Committee to investigate concerns of the persons hailing from the North-Eastern states who are living in different parts of the country, especially the metropolitan areas, and to suggest suitable remedial measures which could be taken by the Government.
  • The M.P. Bezbaruah Committee recommended amendments to the IPC by creating new offences under Section 153C and 509A to deal with comments, gestures and acts intended to insult a member of a particular racial group.
  • It also suggested making such offences ‘gender-neutral’, ‘cognizable’ and ‘non-bailable’ with imprisonment extendable up to three years or five years with fine, respectively.
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