People from north-east have equal claim on Delhi: PM
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Last Updated: Friday, December 11, 2009, 00:01
New Delhi: Against the backdrop of some recent incidents of violence here against those hailing from the north-east, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said they have "equal claim" on Delhi like everyone and instructed local administration to be "more sensitive" to their problems.

Singh's assurance came after his 40-minute meeting with a delegation of students from all the eight North-Eastern states at Parliament House this morning. Union Ministers B K Handique, Agatha Sangma and Vincent Pala, all hailing from the region, were also present.

"The Prime Minister heard them out and told them that students and others from the north-east have equal claim on Delhi like others. He also told them that he will instruct local administration to be a little more sensitive to their problems," Prime Minister's Media Advisor Harish Khare said.

Singh also mentioned that the government has taken a serious note of the incidents.

During the meeting, the students told the Prime Minister that the perception in the minds of local people about them is the root cause of the present situation.

To this, Singh said that there was an urgent need to sensitise people about the issue and that steps would be taken to enlighten general public about the culture and lifestyle of north-east states through Doordarshan and cable and satellite channels shortly.

When the delegation complained that FIRs were being recorded in Hindi here and are not properly comprehended by them, Singh said police will be sensitised to ensure that their complaints are properly understood and suitable follow-up action is taken without any delay.

The Prime Minister told the delegation that the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has set up a cell at the level of Joint Secretary to review action taken by concerned authorities with reference to the recent incidents.

The representatives of students community will also now be associated with the working of the cell, Singh said.

Noting that the government was doing everything in its power to ensure that those from the north-east are safe in Delhi, he said the Home Ministry and the DoNER Ministry are constantly monitoring the situation.

The Government is trying to put in place a fool proof mechanism to ensure security to the people of north-east in Delhi, he said.

Singh also told them that suitable arrangements would be made for cultural exchange programmes at local level, which would include organising north-east festivals and cultural programmes in colleges.

Welfare Officers of Universities in Delhi would be asked to look into the problems faced by students on admissions, hostel facilities etc, a spokesperson of the Ministry of DoNER said quoting Singh.

They would also be advised to take urgent steps to promote general social awareness about the cultural uniqueness of the NE region among the student community, he said.

The students also requested for augmentation of capacity of hostels for north-east students and sought construction of a working women's hostel in the city.

The delegation was told that a girls' hostel is being constructed in Delhi University to mitigate the accommodation problem.


First Published: Friday, December 11, 2009, 00:01

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