NEW DELHI(TNN): Calling people of north eastern origin by “derogatory” names such as “chinki” may land one in jail for up to five years, besides being non-bailable, if the Union home ministry accepts a recommendation of the MK Bezbaruah panel to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for strengthening the legal framework against racial discrimination.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday told media persons that the government was considering introducing two new Sections in the IPC, Section 153-C and Section 509-A. The proposed Section 153-C relates to imputations and assertions prejudicial to human dignity and makes words, both spoken and written, or signs attempting to discriminate against individuals on the basis or race, or indulging in activity intended to use criminal force or violence against a particular race, a non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment up to five years with fine.
The proposed Section 509-A seeks to make any word, gesture or act intended to insult a member of a particular race with imprisonment that may extend to three years with fine.
Stating that a final call on the above recommendations of the Bezbaruah panel, set up in February 2014 to examine concerns of north-eastern people living in different parts of the country, was yet to be taken, home minister Singh said the pros and cons of the proposed IPC amendments were being debated by the government. Once finalized, a Bill may brought in Parliament to amend the Criminal Law.
The Bezbaruah panel, in its report, had noted that most common demand of northeastern people living in other parts of the country was to make derogatory references such as ‘chinki”, ‘chinese’, ‘chi chi chu chu’ or ‘momos’ based on race, identity or physical features, a punishable offence.
Meanwhile, announcing other measures based on recommendations of Bezbaruah panel, Singh said Delhi Police would recruit 20 police personnel, including 10 male and 10 female, from each of the eight north-eastern states and activate its northeast special unit.
The initiatives come on the eve of announcement of assembly polls in Delhi, which has a sizeable population of people from the north-eastern states. These will be implemented over the next six months, the home minister told mediapersons on Friday.
He said the police of other states and metropolitan cities would also be advised by the Union home ministry to introduce similar initiatives, including running a police exchange programmes with north-eastern states.
States will be advised to replicate Delhi Police’s special helpline No 1093 for northeast people, and various metropolitan police told to post northeast personnel at visible positions in areas prone to crime against northeastern people. Fast-tracking of cases relating to crimes against north-eastern people and offering legal assistance to victims is also on the cards.
Incorporating north-eastern history and contribution of people from the region to India’s freedom struggle in the school curriculum, scholarship schemes for northeastern students, promoting cultural heritage of the north-east through mass media and giving impetus to sports in the north-eastern states are other recommendations of the Bezbaruah panel that will be implemented in the coming months, said the home minister.