Northeast citizens faced bias amid pandemic’
- 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).
- 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.