NEW DELHI, May 22 � A fresh attempt by Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) as part of Centre's latest confidence building measures has failed to impress the students of the North East.
The effort initiated by the Centre following a country-wide hue and cry over harassment of students hailing from the North East was described by the participants as half-hearted. The meeting left the 20-odd participants mainly drawn from in and around the national capital peeved, as rude officials left them more disappointed.
Participants complained that representatives of important students' bodies were not invited. Manipuri students went unrepresented. Manipuri girls off late had taken the brunt of the attack on the Northeasterners. A teacher, Hemlata hailing from Manipur, who teaches at a University here, was invited.
But when she tried to speak about the problems being faced by the students was snubbed by officials. She was bluntly told that they have not come to listen to the students. "We were not allowed to express our views but made to listen to whatever they had to say," Hemlata told this newspaper.
The meeting was convened by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal at his Shashtri Bhavan office and some top officials including Delhi Police Commissioner, B K Gupta attended the meeting. Sibal himself made a brief appearance and left after about two minutes, said a participant.
Interestingly, DoNER Ministry was not invited and the officials were in dark about the meeting on Tuesday. Incidentally, Ministry DoNER was among the first to take the initiative to set up a helpline for the students of the region.
Meanwhile, it was announced at the meeting that the at least four nodal officials would be appointed. Representatives of various students' organisations would be identified and a mechanism of regular interaction with the nodal officials is proposed to be established, said a participant. The helpline numbers of the Delhi Police was also given out to the participants.
As reported, increasing attacks and supposed racial profiling of students hailing from North East created a furore in and outside the Parliament. Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram admitting to targeting of those hailing from the region had promised to circulate a revised advisory to all the States urging them to adopt a zero tolerance policy against atrocities on women in general and those hailing from North East in particular.