TODAY -

North East making it to the news : In line with Act Eas
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: February 18, 2015 -



The North East is apparently in the news.

Not exactly for all the wrong reasons, but it should be clear that the region is making news for reasons that are close to wrong notions that mainland India has about the North East and the people.

There is a reason why the Union Home Minister felt it necessary to ask Delhi police to ensure the security of the people from the North East in Delhi.

Implicit in the directive of the Home Minister is the fact that the people of the region have been at the receiving end for long.

The urging of the Home Minister coincided well with the recommendation of the Bezbaruah Committee that anyone passing derogatory remarks against the people of the North East States should invite a jail term of at least five years.

As everyone knows, the Bezbaruah Committee was set up after Nido Tania, a young student from Arunachal Pradesh was killed at Delhi in January last year.

Not the first instance and certainly it was not the last either.

In the latter part of 2014, the country witnessed a number of times when people from the North East were either killed, molested or assaulted in many cities of mainland India.

There were other cases earlier too and what was thought to be criminal acts gradually started becoming something like a trend.

Tough to say whether the recommendations submitted by the Bezbaruah Committee will have any positive impact or not, but it is nonetheless significant to note that India seems to have come around to the idea that the people of North East should no longer be discriminated on the basis of their physical appearance.

The instruction of the Union Home Minister to Delhi police to focus on the security of the people from the North East too can be read along this line.

These developments tune in well with the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his Council of Ministers to visit the North East regularly.

It is in line with this instruction that some Union Ministers have visited Manipur in the last couple of days and more are sure to follow later.

So far Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Ram Vilas Paswan and Union MoS for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju have visited Manipur and had a first hand account of the situation here.

Fits in well with the pronouncement of the Prime Minister that India has moved on from the Look East Policy to Act East.

Early days yet to say whether such a measure will help in bringing the North East or Manipur closer to mainland India, but it is some sort of an admission that the region has remained on the fringe for too long.

Will help so much more if Chief Ministers and Ministers of other States from mainland India can make it a point to visit the region.

The gesture may be reciprocated by the Chief Ministers from the North East region. It says something disturbing that even after more than 60 years of independence, Delhi still has to reach out and understand the North East region.

As stated earlier, apart from the visits and maybe legislation, what is needed is to educate the general public of mainland India about the North East.

The attempt to include the history of the North East region in the school syllabus is a step in the right direction, though this is a measure that has come very late.



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