NEW DELHI, May 4 (IANS): Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Friday that it was incorrect that northeast students were more vulnerable to discrimination than those from other regions. Addressing the Rajya Sabha, he also said that the government was obliged to provide them security.
"It is not correct to say that students of northeast states are more vulnerable as compared to students from other regions," he said, while replying to a calling attention motion moved by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The issue was raised in the upper house of the parliament following the deaths of three northeast students last month.
Two of them, from Assam and Manipur, committed suicide in Delhi and the third, also from Manipur, died under mysterious circumstances in Bangalore.
Chidambaram said state governments were responsible for providing safety and security to people residing in their regions.
"As far as Delhi is concerned, a lot of measures have been taken. In 2012, eight cases of offences against women from the northeast were reported.
"Seven of these have been worked out and 11 persons arrested. In 2011, seven cases were registered, six prosecuted and 10 arrested," the home minister said.
He said three DCP (deputy commissioner of police) level officers have been designated to address problems faced by the students and other residents of the northeast.
"These nodal officers hold periodic meeting and address the issues raised by them," he said.
"I wish to state categorically that any student belonging to northeast is free to travel and reside in any part of the country. They have right to security and peace and governments are obliged to ensure their safety and security," he said.
"The union government will take every step to ensure security and is confident that all state governments will discharge their constitutional duties to ensure safety and security to northeast students," he said.
Dana Sangma, an Amity University student, committed suicide April 23 after being allegedly insulted by an exam invigilator.
Delhi University student Samiran Saikia from Assam also committed suicide, due to examination pressure while Richard Loitam from Manipur was found dead in his room, allegedly after being badly thrashed.