That people from the Northeast face discrimination and sexual harassment in Delhi is nothing new. What’s interesting, however, is that no cases of crime against women from the Scheduled Tribes were recorded in the city last year.
According to an home ministry guideline issued last year, slurs such as “chinki” are racial in nature and recognised by the law to prevent atrocities against persons belonging to Scheduled Caste and ST categories.
Ridiculous as it may seem, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), not even a single case of cognisable crime victimising persons belonging to the ST category was apparently registered. The same goes for cases under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
But officials from the North East Support Centre and Helpline say they receive a number of complaints from people in the city.
“We receive close to 10 calls of harassment from women every month. Most calls are about racial slurs, the misbehaviour of landlords and the problems in finding suitable accommodation. But quite a few women also call us to complain about people following them or passing lewd comments,” said a volunteer at the helpline.
The NCRB report for 2012 does not have a separate section for crime against women from the Northeast.
For many women, going to the police is not a feasible option.
“Many times, it is the policemen who stare at us and pass comments. I don’t feel comfortable talking to them at all. I don’t want to be judged,” said Rose Lalboi.
The police, meanwhile, have been running special sensitisation programmes for their officers.
“We have special training for them and ask all DCPs to make sure that the complaints from people from the Northeast are taken seriously,” said Robin Hibu, joint commissioner, training, Delhi Police.