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
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