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Government panel calls on Bollywood to help end discrimination against citizens from North-East

Monday, 21 July 2014 - 7:31am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

A government committee has called upon Bollywood and television industry to help assimilate North-East with the rest of the country. The Bezbaruah Committee, constituted in the wake of increasing attacks on North-East students, has recommended that Bollywood and the Indian soap opera industry can help by using locations in the North-East for shooting and including stories from the diverse region for their serials and films.

"As Bollywood plays such a prominent role in forming images in the minds of people, DoNER ministry (development of north east region) should consider a suitable scheme of incentives for encouraging the use of North-East locales for Bollywood pictures," the committee recommends.

The committee in its report submitted to the Union home ministry last week, suggested law enforcing agencies of both Centre and the states to prepare a comprehensive computerised database for keeping track of the people of the North-East and creation of a North-East centre to look after NE people and promote their assimilation.
The Bezbaruah committee was set up by the Union home ministry on February 21 this year in the aftermath of the death of a college student from Arunachal Pradesh, Nido Tania, who was killed in a brawl in a South Delhi colony.

The committee's report gives exhaustive list of guidelines to the Centre and the states in the fields of education, sports, law and order, information and broadcasting, private sector and media that could lead to assimilation and integration of North-East with the rest of India. However, against expectations of many, especially to the North-East diaspora, it falls woefully short of recommending any tough measures to rein in the attacks against NE community.

"We were expecting much more from the committee. It should have at least suggested some tough action against those who indulge in blatant attacks, force us to follow their customs and don't give us rooms on rent," said a student leader of N-E student community in Delhi University who did not wish to be quoted.

On part of the legal measures, the committee suggests that within the broad framework of the constitution the legal, strategic and philosophical aspects of the demand for a new law should be debated and in the long run a suitable decision should be taken. The report says that for the immediate short run problems of the North-East people, a specific law or specific amendment to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) should be taken up.

Some of the suggestions of the report such as sensitizing police, paramilitary forces, appointing a nodal officer in the ministries of human resource development, culture, information and broadcasting, sports and tourism to monitor implementation of proposed schemes etc. have already been accepted and are being implemented, officials said. "The rest of the recommendations will be taken taken up for consideration in due course," said sources.

The report also calls upon the people of the North-East educate and sensitise themselves about ways of living and adjust to the culture of the metros where they live and work, involve with local communities and be part of the Resident Welfare Associations at local functions and activities.

Major recommendations:

Buildings, institutions to be named after Northeast landmarks like rivers, hills, tribes and icons

Creation of central database of Northeastern people in metros and its linkage to relevant departments and NGOs
Setting up a North-East Centre in the capital

One major festival of North-East should be organised in metros every year

No need to visit police station once a witness records statement before a magistrate

Education and sensitisation of people before they arrive in metros

Two-way interaction between people from North-East and local communities in Metros

Cultural exchange programmes for students in schools and colleges

Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University to open campuses in North-East

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