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Northeast students meet Rahul on attacks issue

October 29, 2009 18:23 IST
Concerned over a spate of attacks on women from the Northeast, a group of students from the region on Thursday sought Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's help in ensuring their safety and security.

The group representing North East Students Organisation claimed that Rahul expressed his 'serious concern' over the incidents of violence and promised to announce his views on their demands publicly.

"Rahul Gandhi said he is seriously concerned about the incidents and suggested that there should be round-the-clock police patrolling in areas where students from the region are staying," convenor of NESO's Delhi unit Sira Kharay said.

Rahul promised his full cooperation to the students from the region, Kharay said. The students body also met minister of state in Prime Minister's Office, Prithvi Raj Chavan, and submitted a memorandum demanding a series of measures to ensure that students from the region do not face 'racial discrimination.'

There have been a number of attacks against women from the region staying in the city. The students' body has put forward 15 specific demands for the government to ensure safety of those hailing from the northeast and living in the city.

Last week a teenage girl from Nagaland was strangled and later burnt to death in south Delhi allegedly by an Indian Institute of Technology Phd scholar who attempted to rape her. Some boys in southeast Delhi's New Friends Colony allegedly molested another girl from the region.

"In every hour, a northeasterner is racially abused, or humiliated or molested in the city...racial insults are rampant beyond tolerance," the NESO said in the memorandum, demanding setting up of a special round-the-clock police service in areas where students from the region stay.

Meanwhile, several parliamentarians from the region expressed shock and dismay at the attacks on women from the Northeast and said they will soon take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram.

"Attacks have been continuing on students from the region which is not at all acceptable. We will soon meet the PM and the home minister to apprise them about the situation," MP from Arunachal Pradesh Takam Sanjay said.

"In Delhi, sometimes we are called Japanese, some people call us Chinese...this is racial discrimination," he said, adding, "We want equitable treatment."

Expressing serious concern over spurt in attacks against students from the region, MP and former Manipur chief minister Rishang Keishing said, "This kind of treatment is not expected...specially when the entire region is standing firmly against all external adversaries."

The NESO also demanded setting up of a special commission to 'study and check the discriminatory attitude of the law enforcing authorities.' It said a nodal officer in the rank of DCP should be appointed in south Delhi to look into cases of crime against students from the region.

The students also said a 24-hour toll free helpline should also be set up for students from the region. The Naga Students Union will stage a rally in the city on Friday to protest the attacks.

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