BJP document terms NE people as ‘immigrants’

Cong, NESO up in arms

NEW DELHI: BJP’s vision document for Delhi assembly polls on Tuesday sparked a row by describing people from Northeastern states in the national capital as “immigrants”, drawing a sharp attack from Congress and other organizations including NESO after which the ruling party claimed it as a “printing mistake” which will be rectified.
The 24-page document that entails the party’s roadmap in taking Delhi forward by making it a world-class city and steps in public welfare includes a section on “North Eastern Immigrants to be Protected”.
The section talks of special cells in all police stations and 24-hour helpline numbers to be set up “for protection of Northeastern migrants”.
Later, in a damage-control act, the party later and Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said “it is a clerical and printing mistake. We will correct the mistake.”
He said that people from North-East are not immigrants and cited his own example of representing the region.
Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman said “it is a printing mistake, we will correct it. One must go behind  BJP’s intentions of focusing on north eastern region and help the people from the region.”
The party’s vision document says “Special cells in all police stations and special 24-hour helpline numbers to be set up for the protection of the North Eastern migrants. To safeguard the students of NE origin, special guardianship will be arranged with local families for them.”
Congress was quick to react, with its leader Ajay Maken saying “is BJP trying to say the people from North East are not Indian citizens?”
“BJP’s vision document has a pointer called ‘north-eastern immigrants to be protected’. The word immigrant is used when people move from one country to another, so does BJP consider people from the North-Eastern states as residents of some other country or the north-eastern states according to them are not part of India?
BJP’s vision document was formulated by a committee headed Union Minister Harshvardhan and had many top Delhi leaders as its members. BJP chief Amit Shah had formed the Committee.
The national capital has witnessed a spate of racial attacks and discrimination against people from north east in the recent past and a NE student Nido Taniam, son of of an Arunachal MLA, died after being badly beaten by shopkeepers at a Lajpat Nagar market here.
NESO condemnation: Meanwhile, the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) has expressed its dismay and strongly condemned the BJP for terming the people from North East as ‘Immigrants’ in the party’s vision document. “This very act of terming the North East people as ‘Immigrants’ or in other words ‘foreigners’ portrays the attitude and mindset that they have towards the People from North East. This mindset is even more amplified of the continued step motherly treatment that is being meted out to the north eastern region, the continued implementation of dacronian laws like AFSPA etc, the unrestrained militarization of the entire region,” NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa stated in a statement issued here on Tuesday.
He also demanded that the BJP should tender an apology to the people of Northeastern states for this insult. (PTI and Our Staff reporter)