Delhi has always been the hub for migrants from all over the country, especially people from the North East. Five lakh new migrants are expected in the next five years according to a recent study by North-East Support Centre and Helpline (NESCH).
Considering this sizable population, the Delhi government needs to improve safety measures against sexual violence and racial abuse that young migrants, especially women face on a daily basis. In a survey done by NESCH, every 18 hours a North-East woman is raped and every 14 hours, one woman from the North-East is molested.
Out of the total 60% percent crime against NE women, molestation tops the chart where only 31% were reported to police while 39% were refused by the police for an FIR. The percentage of cases where the accused was convicted is just 11%.
Racial abuse or discrimination also being a major issue, it has been recorded by NESCH that 77% of NE people have faced discrimination. Crimes against people from the North-East continue unabated even as the general public and media is piling pressure on the government and the police.
The North East Support Centre and Helpline is the only description that lends a patient ear to the woes of North-East migrants in Delhi. The Centre’s helpline numbers are open 24 hours and are very effective.
Here is an exclusive interview with the spokesperson of NESCH, Madhu Chandra
What is your main role as the Spokesperson here?
My main role has been an advocacy on entire North East India, against racial attack and sexual violence against NE people in NCR, so that Government (Central and NCR) to bring suitable law, policy and plan of action to stop the crimes.
Huge amount of time goes to reporting, delegation to various officials like Police Commissioners, Women Commission and Delhi CM. So also Lobby with civil societies and media sensitization and interviews.
What is the most reported crime/abuse against NE in Delhi?
Sexual Violence and Racial Attack has been mostly reported.
Your opinion on the stereotyped notion by people in Delhi as well as the authorities that NE girls are raped for their different way of dressing up? (Keeping in mind that women get raped weather mini clad or fully clad)
This stereotyped notion has got nothing to with dressing. Because 1) Most of the NE rape victims are innocent girls, 2) In Delhi and in India, women are raped even in Sari and kurtakamis and 3) If it is so, then why no rape crime against women who roams around like the rest of NE girls, why just NE women? The stereotyping is purely based on racial, face, place of birth and reflection of 3000 years old caste system. NE people faced this stereotyped notion first from public, second from Police and third from courts
Has the role of Police and Central Govt. been effective in protecting NE women in particular?
Delhi police waited three years to respond, in spite of repeated lobby, sensitization. Now they are better in terms of filing FIR. Gurgaon and UP police is still the challenge. Delhi police\\\’s response to 9 points safety guidelines to BPO is helpful.
Women Helpline as response to our campaign is helpful and now Delhi Govt. provides special women helpline. Response to our campaign all Delhi police has women Desk at all station. This is a miles stone as per as safety of women is concerned including from NE.
Last but not the least, have the rape case on NE women increased or decreased as the daily headlines are about rapes on Delhiites women?
Rape and sexual violence against NE people has decreased as compared to racial profiling and racial attack. Otherwise overall sexual crime against women in Delhi is still increasing. We had predicted in 2008 that if sexual crimes against NE women are not handled, it will go to any women, particularly from those who are from outside Delhi.