The Bezbaruah committee was set up in February this year after a mob killed Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania in Lajpat Nagar market here in January. It made wide-ranging recommendations for prevention of discrimination against people from the Northeast. It was circulated to central ministries and state governments for their comments and reports on action taken by them.
The Centre is expected to submit an action-taken report to the Delhi High Court on November 12. “We want the states and central ministries to submit a compliance report before that,” a senior official in the Union home ministry said.
A top-level meeting in this regard was held here today. It was attended by special secretary (internal security) in the home ministry, Prakash Mishra, officials of the Northeast division in the ministry as well as from Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and other states. Central ministries also sent officials to the meeting that set a second deadline on submission of the ministries’ comments.
The central ministries and states had missed the first deadline last month. Following mounting pressure, the home ministry finally put the committee’s report on its website and sent a directive to stakeholders to send their comments at the earliest.
The ministries of DoNER, culture, HRD, sports, law and tourism are major stakeholders in implementation of the committee’s recommendations.
The law ministry, because it has suggested amending the Indian Penal Code and drafting of a new law against racism. The tourism ministry, as it wants to make the Northeast popular in the country and abroad.
The Bezbaruah committee mentions that a master plan prepared by the North Eastern Council (NEC) for this purpose is languishing. It recommends the constitution of a high-level committee to identify, monitor and fund projects in the master plan.
“The HRD is also working on inclusion of a chapter on the Northeast in textbooks,” a top source in the home ministry said.
The Bezbaruah committee has also recommended a massive “Know your Northeast” campaign jointly by the ministries of DoNER and tourism and the National Integration Council.
It also said that the information and broadcasting ministry should make sure that the region receives prime time coverage in media facilities under its control.
The committee has also recommended setting up of a Northeast centre in Delhi with contribution from all central ministries.