The Union home ministry has agreed in principal to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC) so that anyone using derogatory terms like ‘chinki’ or ‘Chinese’ to refer to Northeasterners could land the offender in jail for up to five years.
Rajnath Singh, home minister, on Friday said a proposal in this regard from the Bezbaruah Committee, was set up in the wake of the killing of Nido Tania, a youth from Arunachal Pradesh, in January last year, is being considered by the government.
“We are examining the proposal and may add two provisions in the IPC by amending the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2014,” Rajnath Singh said at a press conference in New Delhi.
According to ministry sources, the law ministry has already consented to the amendments.
The Bezbaruah Committee, in its report, noted that the “most common demand” from Northeasterns was to make words like ‘momos’, ‘chinkis’, Chinese’, ‘Chichi Chu Chu’ or any other derogatory remark relating to race, culture, identity or physical appearances to be made punishable.
The Committee recommended a provision in the IPC that will make using words, signs or visible representations or using criminal force on ground of racial features or behaviour liable to punished for five years.
The provision for imprisonment will be there even if a person is “likely to cause fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity amongst the members of that racial group”.
Besides, another clause will be added to provide for imprisonment up to three years with a fine if there is “a word, gesture or act intended to insult a member of a particular racial group or of any race.”