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5 highlights of problems faced by Northeast Indians brought to light!

Source: | Thursday, January 25, 2018

From racial discrimination to increasing gender based violence, activists, experts and academicians who met in a two day conference in New Delhi on January 19-20 not only highlighted the problems in the Northeast but also called for action to check such problems.

The conference organised by Control Arms Foundation of India, Manipur Gun Survivor’s Network and Multiple Action Research Group has prepared a memorandum to be submitted to the President Ram Nath Kovind soon.

In view of this, TNT- The Northeast Today lists at least five highlights of the memorandum for its readers:

1. In view of an alarming rise in blatant hate crimes and racism in the country in the past few years, it is high time for the government to take serious action against such incidents. Seventy eight per cent of the Northeast population is subject to several kinds of humiliation because of their appearance in New Delhi.  54 percent of people living and working in capital felt that New Delhi is the most “unsafe place” in terms of ethnic intolerance while 67 per cent feel that they were victims of racial discrimination. Crimes against people from Northeast India have increased by 232 percent in the last two years.

2. The situation of women and girls is deteriorating each passing day. The country stands at 108 position out of 145 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index in 2017. The National Crime Records Bureau report points out that the crime against women has been on the rise from 2011 onwards. The rate of crime against women is highest in the capital city of Delhi with an average of 184.3. In 2017 alone there were 1,968 rape cases. Furthermore, incidences of crimes against women are also on the rise in Northeast India. Assam has been ranked second by the NCRB in terms of rate of violent crimes in the country in 2016. In the same report, it shows that the overall crimes against women have risen by 3%, and specific incidents of rape have gone up by 12%.

3. The issue of rape and sexual violence in conflict zones like the Northeast is a topic which hardly finds discussion in India. In Northeast or Kashmir, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) restrains the rule of law; numerous cases of sexual violence and rape remain unpunished. Despite the Parliament passing the landmark Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013, it still misses a recognizing sexual violence in conflict area as a war crime.

4. The trickle down effect of social inequality of women is clearly visible in the political sphere wherein; in the Indian Parliament in 2017, a mere 11. 8 percent of legislators are women. The Herculean task still remains to pass the Women Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha which guarantees 33% reservation of women in legislative assemblies. Any proposal to make gender just policies in the government requires a strong presence of women in decision making processes.

5. Keeping all in mind, the Government of India should take immediate steps for drafting an Anti Racial Law, to develop a National Diversity Policy and to adopt a National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security. Rape crises centers need to be established in each of the 104 districts of Northeast, fast track courts for speedy trial of cases concerning people from Northeast and history of Northeast should be included in school textbooks within this year.


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