The Supreme Court will Friday hear a plea by a group of lawyers seeking direction to the central government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the attack on Arunachal student Nido Taniam and the assault on two Manipuri women in the capital recently.
The apex court bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi directed the listing of the matter for Friday as the petitioner advocates mentioned their plea for an early hearing.
The petitioners have sought that the SIT should be headed by a retired apex court judge, have an officer from the northeast, carry out an investigation in a time-bound manner and submit the status report to the court.
Besides identifying and booking the attackers of Taniam and the two Manipuri women, the plea said the SIT should proceed against police officers who did not register the complaint and take action in the incident leading to the death of Taniam.
The plea has also sought direction to the centre and the state governments to inform the court about the steps taken by them to curb racial atrocities/discrimination in society.
The lawyers who moved the court include Karma Dorjee, Gainilung Panmei, Pragya Baghel, Sarvesh Singh Baghel, Rahul Pratap, Vaibhav Tomar and Anirudh Singh.
The plea said the framers of the constitution envisaged a nation where there was no discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth but these very rights are being blatantly violated.
People from the northeast, who move out of their states in search of better opportunities, are being subjected to racial attacks and taunts just due to their physical appearance at the hands of the people who are supposed to be their countrymen, it said.
"Most of the people from these regions who return to their states have one or two tales of horrid, unspeakable and unimaginable proportions... (of their being) discriminated, taunted, molested, raped and even murdered, and all because of their outward appearance," it said.
The plea said the "irony and double standard of the situation is such" that "when the people of India who had moved to Australia or other Western countries for better opportunities were subjected to racial hostilities, the whole country got united in condemning the horrific incidents of racial violence but dramatically failed to see and grasp what was the situation in their own backyards".
"The crime of racial discrimination is a menace to the society and violates human rights of every person irrespective of his caste, creed, religion, domicile and the right to live with human dignity," the plea said.
It said "the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable right of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world".