Delhi NGO struggles with distress calls from North-East youth

Not just Kashmiri students but even young men and women from North-Eastern states seem to be at the receiving end of employers, brokers and middlemen

Photo Courtesy: PTI
Photo Courtesy: PTI
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Amitabh Srivastava

Distress calls are pouring in from across the country from young men and women from the North-East, cheated, discriminated and exploited by employers, middlemen and cheats, says Robin Hibu, Special Commissioner of Delhi Police.

Some of the distress calls received in recent weeks, he points out, were the following:

*Four Naga young men (who went to join merchant navy as cadets) are stranded in a dilapidated ship at some unknown sea port on the Arabian sea. Their passports are with the recruiters at Mumbai. Their SOS says they are surviving with rice and boiled potatoes. They were recruited after paying two lakhs each.

*A woman from Manipur denied salary for six months by employer at Vadodara after she resisted his illegal/ immoral demands.
*A young man from Darjeeling paid Rupees four lakh for job and Visa for Canada. Recruiters asking for four lakhs more for arranging the Visa.

*15 North East youth from Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram are in custody at Noida for working for a fraud BPO and charged with cheating citizens through cyber fraud.
* Two women from Manipur and Sikkim were rescued minutes before signing an agreement with a businessman with a criminal background for running unregistered BPO Call Centre at Bangalore.
Hibu, an award winning Indian Police Service officer from Arunachal Pradesh, is part of an NGO that seeks to extend a helping hand to people in distress from the North-East in the rest of the country.

He finds it ironical that despite concerted efforts, the youth from the North East continue to face discrimination, exploitation and fraud of various kinds.

The Special Commissioner in Delhi Police says that the NGO

‘Helping Hands India’ offers assistance for admission, healthcare and even arranges for coffins for unclaimed and abandoned dead bodies.

The officer exclaims, “I am doing what little I can but the root of the problem is that all our planning is done for urban areas and with metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata etc in mind. But the majority of the county lives in Bharat which consists of the North East, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh etc. which are not on the radar of planners.”

Rather than offer region specific training and skill, “which for our people should be bamboo based or agriculture based,” for example, he says, “they give training which is not relevant for these youths."

"My main worry is youth from the North East are vulnerable to influence from across the border, being surrounded by China, Myanmar and Bangladesh" he says.

He asserts that there is a basic flaw in the Skilling options offered by the Centre which guarantees employment for a maximum period of two years after Skilling. “But what after that? There is no long-term planning because this region has been left out of the planning process as it lacks media attention, support of the judiciary and has very little political clout”.

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