The Lok Sabha on Wednesday condemned harassment of people from the northeast in the wake of Nido Taniam's death in Delhi last week.
"The entire House condemns the death of the young boy. A clear message should go to the entire country that Parliament wants that all the people and children from the northeast are protected," Speaker Meira Kumar said.
Taniam (also spelt as Tania), 19, son of an Arunachal Pradesh legislator, died last Thursday after being allegedly thrashed a day ago. The brawl was reportedly triggered by some shopkeepers who made fun of his hair colour. Close on the heels of Taniam's death, a case of assault on two Manipuri women was reported in Delhi.
Sushma Swaraj, leader of the Opposition, raised the matter during Zero Hour. She referred to Taniam's death and the harassment of the two women, saying people across the country should be sensitised about their counterparts from the northeast.
"If Ganga, Yamuna is part of India, so is Brahmaputra.
"The child belonged to Arunachal Pradesh, a state whose every resident has stood as a soldier against China," she said.
Taniam's death has once again raised concerns over the security of northeasterners in Delhi, as students from the region have taken to the streets to protest against racial discrimination.
With outrage spilling on to the streets, Congress vice-president met protesters at Jantar Mantar recently and assured them of justice. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has also expressed solidarity with demonstrators.
Nido Taniam case: HC rejects Delhi Police report, asks for fresh one
Minister of state for minority affairs Nino Ering said the issue was not political. "A strong law should be passed so that such incidents were not repeated in future."
Swaraj, who spoke amidst continued din over Telangana, said after the riots in Kokrajhar in Assam last year, people from the northeast had to return home from various parts of the country after facing harassment.
"Parliament had then issued an appeal to them that India is yours, don't go. We will provide you protection," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.
Swaraj also took a dig at Kejriwal and Gandhi without naming them, saying representatives of the state government and the Centre, which are responsible for providing protection to people, joined the students from the region at their sit-in here.
She said every BJP member would protect people of the northeast living in their neighbourhood.
Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav said the entire House should condemn the incident. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Basudeb Acharia said the incident was an outcome of "racial discrimination".
With PTI and IANS inputs